It's quite appropriate that JOY is the current Fabulous Friend that I'm talkin' about, because I just got back from a very brief, very SURPRISE visit for her surprise 40th birthday party. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: "She'll always be 31 to me!!!") We had a blast meeting family and friends who I've grown to love through Joy's stories and their pictures on her refrigerator!
I had just graduated from Calvin College with my useless theatre degree. I had no intentions of having a career because I knew that I'd want to be a Mommy sometime in the near future. Little did I know that this wonderful couple, Joy and Craig, had been praying for a loyal, Christian, creative, wonderful, awesome, stunningly gorgeous....umm..oh...where was I? Oh, yes. They had been praying for a part-time nanny for their newborn, Calvin!! It was quite a memorable first interview. Particularly, the question, "What do you think of breast feeding?" To which, I responded, "Well, I've never tried it, but I'm on board...." (They'd done their research and found that this was an important question. Have I mentioned that Joy is intense?) Anyway, they hired me after the second interview and it was a wonderful match. Cal was simply the cutest, smartest baby I've ever seen. And now he's a brilliant and wonderful (and quite handsome!) 9-year-old!!!
Why Joy has 1 billion friends:
I'll boil it down to two qualities. One, she's entertaining! She really and truly does have the best stories. Because she and her husband own a company, they've run into a lot of characters. Some of my favorites are 1. the guy who explained the two years of unaccounted time on his resume with, "Oh that? Yeah, I was in the pokey!", 2. The woman who interviewed for the nanny position who said, "My family thinks I'm obsessed with death and darkness", 3. The man who applied for a phone sales position who put "heavy dance background" in the section designated for "practical skills" which might be applicable for the job.
The second reason Joy is someone everyone wants to be around is that she's incredibly encouraging. She listens and relates. She is incredibly intuitive and picks up on one's strengths and lavishes them with verbal affirmation. She speaks respectfully and lovingly about her friends and family. She's simply an excellent communicator. For instance, if I relay some troubles I'm having with my husband, she will undoubtedly listen and validate me without--I repeat, WITHOUT--disrespecting Brent in the least. She can simultaneously validate me while actually complimenting Brent's strengths. I admire that so much.
A toast to Joy:
While on the party/tour bus on the way to a winery, her husband Craig invited anyone to tell a funny or poignant story about Joy. I was stunned that no funny story came to mind. It was amazing to listen to everyone's stories--particularly her two older brothers who teased her mercilessly and love her intensely! Anyway, after 10 or so anecdotes about Joy, I hear, "I can't believe Jenna doesn't have anything?!!" Well, all I could think of was more mushy friend stuff. Here's what I said more or less (and this time, I'm not scanning an audience of listeners...phew!):
I started working as the Bidner's nanny when Joy's hair was cut really, really short.
So, tonight, as I'm safely back in my home, I toast to an incredible friend--a FABULOUS FRIEND--Joy!!!!
Joy and I at Mount Pleasant winery.
One of my favorite pictures of Joy with her son Cal.