Thursday, October 27, 2016

You Should Know This Girl

If you don't know my friend Jenny, you should. And if you don't know her, my hope for you is that you have a Jenny, your own Jenny, in your life. They just make things a little better. A little brighter. And whole lot more fun.

When I moved back to Illinois, my childhood hometown, I was nervous to leave my circle of friends. My friends in Charleston were family. We had long since crossed that beautiful bridge that takes a friendship into a bond that doesn't require blood, but requires all of life's ups and downs that create trust, empathy, faith and love for one another. Leaving those girls was terrifying.

Moving back to Illinois was wonderful in that it brought me closer to family and into my husband's home. Although this was my hometown, a lot of my closest girlfriends no longer lived here. They had moved not only out of state, but to different coasts. This fact created a friendship void in my new, married life and brought a small struggle with resentment into it as well (if I'm being totally honest with you). I felt as though I had let go of my life, my career, my church, my home and my friends for marriage and that is a lot to add to a relationship.

Thankfully, one of the sweetest friends that I still had in town was awesome at inviting me into her circle. This friend, Jessica, opened her book club, girls' nights out and bunco group to me and I was so grateful for her inclusion and open arms. Jess gave me opportunities to have outings and friends of my own, which started healing some of that resentment that bubbled up from time to time..

Cue my first night at bunco where I nervously walked into a party of 20 women, with only one of which I knew. Throughout the evening, I watched as one of the girls in the group had everyone belly laughing over her stories of her five, FIVE kids, their shananigans and everyday life. There was something about her that just made you want to smile a little bigger and laugh a little harder. Or maybe it was the wine? Either way, that was my introduction of Jenny and I was pretty much a fan from that day on.

Jenny, like I said, is a mother of five beautiful kids. She epitomizes the phrase "if you think my hands are full, you should see my heart." She is creative beyond normal human expectation and throws a mean theme party. She is the friend I never knew I needed until I had her. She makes me laugh so hard it hurts sometimes. She doesn't get caught up in drama and I respect that and crave that in our dramatic world. She is loyal and fierce. She and Jessica not only show up at your grandpa's visitation, but come with homemade cookies and a gift card for a girl's "date night" to the movies and Steak'n'Shake because their fries and milkshakes heal the soul. She brings homecooked meals when you deliver a baby and again when you loss one. Seriously, when does she have time to cook for me when she has to cook for 5 kids? She loves vintage goodness as much as I do and we've had a blast selling our treasures together at many a show. We've also stood in rain and wind storms together and held onto our booth tent to prevent it from being ripped from the ground and ruining countless hours and countless dollars worth of inventory. She'll laugh with you, cry with you, dance with you and do life with you. Real life, not just social life. She is the real deal, folks. What you see is what you get, and thankfully for those of us who know her, what we get from her is way more than we could ever give back.

Like I said, if you don't know her, you should.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful and creative and hilarious friend, Jenny. I kept thinking "what can I get the girl who can make pretty much everything?" So hopefully this humble little shout out is a small gift that reflects how so many people feel about you. You're an amazing mom, awesome friend, comedian, creative genius, breath of fresh air, a mother to admire and respect, a crazy-hard worker and someone I wish everyone could know.

Happy Birthday to the friend I never knew I needed until I had you. So thankful for you! Now pass me a Raz-Ber-Rita so we can have a proper toast. Cheers, friend!

PS...To Jessica, this blog is also for you! You were a lifeline for me when I first moved back and have remained one since. Thank you so very much! I LOVE doing life with you all, especially when it requires costumes:)

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