I read Hoda Kotb’s book Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee, and one chapter in particular touched me more than others. She said that when people ask her how she got to where she is today she always wants to “pull out a vinyl pocket photo file. It would flip-flop-flip all the way down to the ground, filled with pictures of the extraordinary people who guided me, who took a chance on me, who supported me. They are the answer. They are how I got to where I am today.”
She then goes on to challenge the reader to think of all the people who would fill their pocket photo file. I’ve decided to accept that challenge and rather than wait until I write a memoir, I’m going to post it here.
Priscilla: Sisters make the best friends. Though she does have a few habits that I can’t stand, she really does make the best friend a sister could ask for. She’s a goof most of the time. She’s the most beautiful person I know. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if she wasn’t in my life on an hourly basis.
Mom: Behind every strong woman is a stronger woman — that’s my mom. She is truly the most extraordinary woman you will ever meet. She’s fun, she has her blonde moments and when we make fun of her for them, she takes it with grace. She’s strong, both emotionally and physically. She’s beautiful, inside and out. If someone tried to argue against her being the best mom in the world, I don’t know who would kill them first, me or my sister.
Dad: The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy — I couldn’t have said it better myself. Though he may come off as a tough guy (which of course, he is), he has the biggest heart of any man I know. Don’t let the African safaris fool you, he really is a nice guy. He can’t say no to his family, the most important thing to him. He’s also one of the funniest people I’ve been around.
Taylor: I’ve had best friends before, but I never knew what it was like to be able to tell someone anything and everything without fear of being judged until I met Taylor. I can call her crying at 6 a.m. because my life is falling apart. She’s the one who tells me when I make a mistake and need to deal with it — and even then she won’t judge me. I’ve never had more fun quoting The Wedding Date with anyone else or debating which version of JT we’d rather do. Be jealous she’s not your best friend.
Grandma Retzlaff: She’s my mom’s mom and she’s the greatest. It may be because I was her first grandchild but I’m her favorite (or at least I think I am). Some of my greatest memories growing up were with Grandma Retzlaff, like singing “Achy Breaky Heart” in the front seat of the car. There were times when I would rather go visit my grandparents for the weekend instead of hanging out with my friends because of her.
Kelly Clarkson: Yes, I know this is cheesy, but just hear me out. You don’t have to meet someone or know them personally for them to make a significant impact on your life. Kelly has guided me and has helped me better understand myself through her music. Sure, I can’t run to her if I need someone, but her music is always there. Always. And I think the connection I have with her music makes her more than deserving to be one the influential people in my vinyl photo file.
Don’t worry, there’s more to come.