Several years ago, I went to a yoga class and was one of two students in the class. It was hot yoga. And it seemed like a good idea at the time.
For almost a year, I went to this class and it was just the two of us – me and Jen – and our yoga instructor. As you sometimes do when you’re the only two in the class – we started chatting. We figured out we were both boy mamas. Our boys were the same age. (Score!) Our husbands were the same age. (Because that’s important for grown-ups) She and I were the same age – and all that was kinda cool. I decided we should definitely be friends.
I had just moved back to Newnan, after getting married – and while I was so happy to “be back home,” it was still a little bit of a culture shock for Ervin and me – since all of our friends lived in Atlanta. We needed local “friends” but were having a hard time finding them. All the folks our age typically had older kids and all the parents of Austin’s friends were usually much younger than us…we didn’t really “fit-in” any life groups from church as the “newlywed class” was a bunch of 20 somethings and the 30-something class were folks who had been married 15+ years…so, when this girl in the yoga class friended me on Facebook, I stalked her profile like a professional to find out all I could about her.
Because we needed friends.
After “liking” everything she posted for months. Jen took a chance and invited me to her book club. I stressed for a week about what to wear, what dish to bring, and worried her friends wouldn’t like me.
The night of book club I panicked about what underwear to wear. My husband asked “Exactly, what kind of book club is this?!?!”
I explained that if the house caught on fire and we had to run out in the streets in our underwear (Because all of our clothes could burn off – duh!) that I wanted to be wearing nice underwear. He assured me the house probably wouldn’t burn down unless I volunteered to cook.
There was no fire. Book club was a success. A friendship was born.
For the past several years, Jen has become my go-to-girl. When Ervin was in nursing school and working nights – she opened her house to me and Austin every weekend so we could let Ervin sleep in peace. She introduced me to a phenomenal group of women through the book club – all of whom have become important people in my life. She has kept Austin for me in a pinch, showed up with a full meal when I was too sick to cook, made me homemade tiramisu for my birthday.
For my 40th birthday, she actually contacted Scott Steiner’s agent – the wrestler I obsessed over when I was a teenager (another blog for another time) – and asked him to attend my 40th birthday party. Scott Steiner wanted $2,000 for an appearance – apparently there are some limits to Jen’s love for me – so instead, she had every single girl in our book club wear a Scott Steiner mask to my party.
She has encouraged me, laughed with me, grown with me, pushed me. We have traveled together, mourned together, practiced yoga, and solved the world’s problems sitting on her back porch.
During some really hard times, she has been the lifeboat I have climbed into time and time again. A safe harbor in the middle of my life that I didn’t realize I needed until I found her.
Today is her birthday. She will celebrate with little fanfare and no professional wrestlers. But she is worthy of all of it and more. Happy birthday, Jen! Thank you for being my life boat.
Sail on, girlfriend.