A lot of my heroes are adult-life friends. In fact, most of them are. But Melissa is one of those I grew up with. She came into my life a straight-talking, no-nonsense 10 year old and now she is a straight-talking, non-nonsense person who is no longer 10 years old. Melissa comes from a family of 5 girls, so she learned to make her place in life from an early age, I think that made her tough enough to deal with the rain which comes into one's life from time to time. But, she's also kind. For instance, every time I see, her I ask about the entire family and she just rattles off what each of her sisters is doing instead of getting huffy. Which is what I do if you want to talk about any one but me! It's funny because when I think about it, I believe it's the longevity of our relationship that's made her special to me. As I have grown, changed and become a different person over the last 30 years, people like Melissa have been constants, points of reference helping define me.