I love April 29th. If there is one thing I know each year – it is what will be written on this beautiful day. For me, this day has practically taken on “National Holiday” type significance. In a single day, I get to celebrate both the birth of my very best friend AND my youngest child. I can’t really think of a better reason to take off from work and school – although I would is at school, working as usual today.
Oh – yeah, my youngest is at home. In fact, she’s still upstairs sleeping. She’s also homeschooled on Mondays, so I don’t know that this really “counts” as taking the day off from school. (although we are – we’re going to the zoo instead, which is a learning experience cleverly disguised as a fun day out!)
There is no question here – Amanda is, by far, the hardest worker I’ve ever known. I’ve never known anyone with the passion she has, whether it comes to teaching, or politics. She isn’t someone who just says how she feels – whether in person or on Twitter or other social media. She works for the change, and she works hard. Amanda takes causes to heart, and she’s the kind of person who feels these things with her whole heart, mind, and body. I love that about her, even though I am almost the opposite.
I’ve known Amanda for sixteen years now. The time has really flown by, and while we’ve done a lot together, she has done an amazing amount of things outside of Duran Duran. I can’t really be sure of how many campaigns she’s worked on now – I try to count, but I know there’s been more than “just” the few Presidential, at least two gubernatorial, and a local school board campaign – I just can’t quite keep track. She’s worked at three schools, and has personally touched the lives of probably thousands of children now.
Then there are the every day things. She still finds time to check in with her wayward writing partner every now and then. Recently I’ve had some serious worries going on outside of what I would normally blog about, and she’s made sure to let me know she’s there if I need her. I have no doubt whatsoever that she’s done the same for other family and friends, too. Amanda is quick to put herself and her own needs aside more often than not – purely because she really believes you do for others before you do for yourself.
I know that to many – particularly Duranies – Amanda is quiet (I’m gonna add “until you get to know her” right here, because it is true!). I’ve been told she’s hard to get to know, and I know Amanda is aware of that perception, although I would wholeheartedly argue that it’s really not true. No, she doesn’t really hang out online because in her view – there’s really no time for that, and the time she does have, she’d probably rather spend doing something more productive. I really didn’t get to know Amanda until I met her in person at a convention, even though we were both on the same message boards beforehand. I’m glad it happened the way it did. I mean, who else bonds over vodka tonics??
I would say, in the kindest sort of way possible, that she isn’t very quick to let people in. I appreciate that she’s guarded about who she trusts, too. However, once she does open up a bit, she is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. Amanda isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in, but she’s also not afraid to let you know that she’s right by your side. I’m very lucky to call her a friend, much less my closest one.
She and I have been through quite a bit together…much of which, I would prefer to keep out of print. We’ve spent many hours over the past sixteen years laughing. More than a few of those hours have been at the expense of this band, which makes me giggle even today! Lately though, we’ve done precious little of that. Life has this crazy way of changing in incremental ways over the course of a few years, and before you notice – you realize you haven’t spoken with your closest friend in many months. I am hoping to correct that this next year and get back to regular phone calls and video sessions.
There is no one else with whom I’ve written more than one manuscript, spent blocks of hours on Skype, planned a convention, huddled over a notebook making edits, reviewed concerts, taken train rides all over the UK, v-logged in hotel convention areas, stayed up all night laughing, or even spent an entire week using dueling computers in an office. We have done a lot, my friend!
For a while, I really thought we were done writing, though. Turns out that no, we did need a break, but we’re going to get that damn book published. Even if we have to do it ourselves.
So, we’re not quite finished with one another yet. I suspect we have at least one more UK trip left in the tank, and hopefully a few more shows. After all, we haven’t hit the century mark yet. Still think we need to do a cross country trip with a motor home and a group of concert buddies…. can you imagine that insanity??
So, to my dearest friend Amanda: enjoy your birthday. I hope you take pride in what you’ve accomplished this past year. Your tenacity, passion, and drive continually make me stop and marvel at what a single person can manage to influence! If I had one small piece of advice as an older (but not really wiser) human, it would be to stop and smell the roses just a little more often. It will not hurt anyone for you to take a moment and breathe deeply. Our souls need replenishing every once in a while so that we can keep fighting that good fight. Your soul and body will thank you. You always feel guilty for taking a break, and yet everybody needs one. The better care you take of yourself now, the longer that fight will stay in you.