Tuesday, June 24, 2008

a major friend talkers

This next friend is a major "friend talkers". Major. If we've ever talked, I've most likely told you one of HER stories! She shares the most extraordinary, most heart-wrenching, and most hilarious stories ever. I think it's because she has approximately five gazillion close friends. So, she acquires a lot of stories. And she's got lots of memory on her hard drive! So, who is this fabulous friend? It's Joy!!!

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!

A bit-o-history:

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. My start time was 12:30. I always made sure to come at least 15 minutes early to debrief with Joy. I loved every minute and every conversation. She quickly became one of my favorite people of all time. She was the first one (after Brent, of course) who heard the news that I was pregnant with our first son. She's just that kind of person that you want to bring your news to. I'm quite sure that she is a vault of good news and privileged information!! After two wonderful years of being Cal's nanny, it was time for me to be a stay-at-home Mom. What I dreaded even more than missing daily doses of a precocious Calvin, was losing that daily friendship with Joy. (In those days, she was ridiculously busy, even beyond being a mother and the president of their company.) Time with Joy was a seriously limited resource!! Much to my delight, our friendship endured!! A side note: I'm thankful that Joy and Craig paid me so well, but truthfully, I probably would have done it for free!!!

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.


Neely & Steve said...

What a loving post of Joy! And so true! She's pretty much my hero.

--the other working mom in Jenna's life

Tiffany said...

Oh! I love it! She sounds wonderful! I'm so glad I got to make her a bracelet! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna and Everyone Reading this,

Yes, I am the moron Jenna is referring to that cannot figure out how to leave a comment! Yes, this is indeed my third attempt! Pathetic, but I guess that's what happens when you move into the 40 and over crowd! I'm officially old and definitely not technically savvy! :(

Jenna, those are without a doubt the kindest words, comments, compliments I could ever receive! I have read them 100 times!!! I will somehow figure out how to print this post, lace it with gold, and hang it on my wall as a shrine! You are amazing! Please know that All of your feelings are reciprocated! I was soooooo incredibly touched and honored that you made it 900 miles to come to my party! I'll never forget you driving over the hill in the Gator and me thinking it was the Bub family from next door! It was AWESOME to see Avery, Miles and precious Jillian! Those memories of s'mores, ATV riding, talking with friends and family, God's awesome sky and Harvest Moon (in the summer?!), etc. will forever be imbedded in my memory bank! I truly thought that was "the party"! Little did I know what was planned for Saturday!! Thank you again for your incredible friendship! We love you all and miss you like crazy here in the "Show Me State"! And, no, for the record, I was not born here :)!

I pray this works! My first two comments were much wittier and kinder but they've escaped my aging brain! Third time's a charm! Love, Joy

P.S. Tiffany, the bracelet is AWESOME and I have practically slept in it ever since :)! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jenna said...

see what I mean about the verbal affirmation?

i feel like i just smoked something i feel so high from that comment!!!

i love you, too, joy!