If you are as fortunate as I am to have a friend for 15 years, viewing them like a sister and loving them more each year than the last, hold onto that friendship with both hands.
Almost 15 years ago I met Jane. I was 14, and she was 16, she just got her drivers' license. We bonded over having the same favorite ice cream flavor. And since then she's been in my life every step of the way. Jane means a whole lot to me, and we've been through a whole lot together. I remember her first car, a little white Toyota Corolla. We did a lot with that car. Got lost a lot too. We weren't so good with directions, or remembering to turn the car off and take the keys out of the ignition when you got out and locked the car door. Oops. Before Jane I had never had a friend like her. Our friendship was totally brand new for me and I have loved every second of it ever since.
Jane is one of the smartest persons I have ever met. I still to this day have her proofread important letters or papers for me. High school is one of my favorite periods in my life because she was in college at UCLA which meant she practically lived at our house most nights. Loved that. I love that at the time Jessica and I were sharing this little bedroom in a high rise apartment and my Jane slept on the floor between our two beds. She was one of us. Still is.
Jane and I celebrate our friendship each year on our anniversary. I was thinking back to how we have celebrated in year's past. When we were both single, and teenagers, we once went to Palm Springs for the weekend. And how I talked my parents into letting me travel to New York with Jane before I was even 18 years old is pretty insane. Greta for sure will not be doing that. But I love that Jane was there the night I met Aaron. She was also there many a meetings of boys, some good, some not so good. And let's just say it's a good thing I didn't end up with some of them, because she did NOT like a few. I still hear about some of them to this day from her!
Jane and I have survived distance. Our friendship has definitely changed through the years with the changing of our lives. I got married and moved across the country. Then, when I came home pregnant with Gunnar, she began dating David. They got married and it was her turn to move away. But throughout all this time, our friendship never faded or went away.
Jane is one of the strongest people I know. If you know Jane you may scoff and say "Jane? strong!?" Of course, I don't mean physically. Because we all know how fragile Jane is. When the weather dips below 60 degrees she breaks out in hives. Literally. Hives. Trust me. It's true. She was always on the verge of being sick since I met her. In fact, I remember the super foods diet she went on to get really healthy before she had Alissa. It must have worked, because Alissa is near perfect. Back to the strong part now. Jane is one of the strongest people I know. She was at both Gunnar and Sawyer's births. Although she doesn't handle her own pain very well, or seeing others in pain, she has an inner strength that is unyielding. When she had Alissa I hauled my 7 month pregnant butt as fast as I could down the coast to be there within the first few hours after she came into this world. And despite all the obstacles that were in Jane's way to breastfeed her baby, she persevered. She overcame.
Recently she's been through the hardest time in her life and she has proved to be even stronger than I knew she was capable of. I hope I can one day emulate Jane's strength, her power, and her daily will to go on living life. But always remembering.
She is a wonderful mother. Despite all the frustration and impatience we all experience, I have never heard Jane yell or act rashly. She is a calm and even tempered. Her daughter is the fruitage of her mother. I adore Alissa and view her as another child of my own. There is no difference in the love I feel for Alissa or the pride I have for that little girl.
One of the best pieces of our friendship is the total lack of competition that we have shunned since the first day we met. There is nothing but pure, complete happiness for the other when good falls upon them. No animosity or jealousy. Okay, I take that back. I was extremely jealous that Jane's daughter slept through the night at 6 weeks of age and continues to sleep 12 hours a night to this day. But I'm dealing with it. In all seriousness though, not once have either of us experienced even a tinge of anger or hurt or jealousy over not getting something that the other had received. Never have we been unfair or catty. Malicious or gossipy. We truly want the best things in life to come to one another. Neither of us have ever felt threatened by any of the other people that comes into each other's lives. I think we both know that we cannot be replaced. Our friendship will not disappear. I can speak for myself, but having friends with others only makes me appreciate and love Jane more.
David is probably as close to a man could get to deserve Jane. And we laugh all the time that we happened to marry very similar men. Well, except for the Korean/White thing. But their demeanor, spirituality, humor, humility, rational thinking, upbringing, even the way they treat Jane and I are so similar it's a bit crazy. It just makes me love David for being Jane's husband and giving her what I know she needs and deserves.
Jane, I admire your honesty, your tact, your strength, your love, your determination, and your ability to love me despite all my imperfections. I look to you for advice and laughter. What would I do without you? I don't ever want to know.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your family and document your laughs and smiles. I put this video together because taking your family's photos just didn't seem quite enough to me. I wanted something special and you're kind of hard to shop for as far as gifts are concerned. So I figure I could give you something you can't give yourself. Hope you like it. There's a few new ones I slipped in here. Oh, and hopefully by morning the beginning error of the video will be resolved. And I am bringing you four dvd copies on Sunday Jane. I figure the grandparents and auntie are entitled to their own copy.
You can read more about my photo shoot with Jane's family on my photography blog here.