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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

to you, from me

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Hello there, friends!  My name is Jessica and in honor of our sweet Shannon's 31st birthday, I asked if I could borrow her blog for a little birthday surprise!  I hope you like the new layout, friend.  And if not, you know where to find me ; )

When I was a freshman in high school, I came from a private school that was pretty much my entire world and didn't know but a few souls at the new, giant, scary high school before me. And to top it off, I was assigned second period P.E.  Lucky!  I love smelling like teen angst and gym socks before 8:30 in the morning! There's something terrifying about being the new girl when your gym teacher tells you to split up into teams for street hockey and every teenage girl rallies around her main group of friends, leaving you on the sidelines alone for dead.  I'm not really sure how everything happened, but one group of girls must have sensed my awkward desperation and kindly asked me if I would like to join their team.  Oh! Yes, please!  That was the day I met a few of my favorite people that would make high school some of the most wonderfully happy and silly and innocent and boy-awkward kind of years you'll always remember when you make a "when I was a kid" reference.  And one of the girls in our hearts knitted together group was my Shannon.

Friend.  September 1995 was 16 years ago.  16!  And in honor of you today, I will attempt to summarize and/or remember my favorite memories of us from each year since then...

1995: Bulldogs on our gym uniform.  Sometimes Looney Tunes on our sweatshirts. AOL, LOL, and all that jazz.
1996: Orange tic tacs.  A spiral bound notebook to exchange between classes filled to the brim with notes, notes, notes! 
1997: Romy and Michele, prank phone calls, butcher paper choir sign painting, and synchronized swimming poses.
1998: Jobs at Pizza Hut and making "mess-up" pizzas. Choir and plays and work and choir and plays and work! Intentionally wearing rollers in our hair at school.
1999: We graduated!  We survived!  Whatever shall we do? Celebratory picnic at the park with an insanely angry duck.
2000: The start of a new century and the big move you made to far, far away! We always said we'd never be those kind of friends that say they'll stay BFF's but aren't after high school is over, but I was worried still what the distance would mean for our friendship.
2001: E-mail and phone calls!  What's new with you?  Can you imagine the quantity of texts there would be if that had even been a thing in 2001?  Or maybe I just wasn't hip to it yet?  I am kind of slow. P.S. I met a boy and he's "the" one.
2002: Do you remember this year?  Maybe I was too busy making out with the soon to be Mr. ( I apologize.)  Even more phone calls and e-mails and "What's the latest with you, friend?" conversations.
2003: So I got married this year.  And you kind of helped with everything.  Addressing invitations in your pretty cursive, flower arrangements, retrieving wedding favors on wedding eve from the angry UPS, making a ginormous wedding cheesecake.  By the way, what was I thinking requesting something so crazy from you?  And how you didn't slap me is a testament to your loyal friendship.
2004: You're home!  You're home, you're home, you're home!  And baby Noah is here!  Now this is getting all kinds of good.
2005: You work.  And you work.  And you work some more.  I don't know how you do it. Catching up over chips + salsa, water with lemon, and sharing a chicken ceasar salad.
2006: A baby Jack to join the family and you are so sweet to sneak me away for a pampering pedicure. Heaven!  You made me feel like I had this whole mom thing down.  And even if I didn't keep it together, you never let me feel discouraged.
2007: This will go down in history as our collective party planning year.  Bridal showers, birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, oh my!  I think most of our "dates" were at the scrapbook store or talking over coffee about our latest party planning ideas.  And it was so. much. fun.
2008: This was the year I got to traumatize you with an up close and personal view of childbirth!  Thanks, Lucy!  And thank you, friend, for being at the hospital before we were, for bringing Christmas cookie magazines to inspire us for the holiday season before us, to be there to laugh, and cry, and encourage, and walk, walk, walk, and all of what it took to get my first little girl here.  I will forever remember it.
2009: Oh, 2009!  The year of love!  It has brought me great joy to see such a kind + wonderful man guard and protect your heart!  (Sorry for The Bachelor reference, but it's just so true and that Kasey knows a thing or two about love!) To see the smiles on your face and Jared's face when you're together is like every morning is Christmas!  I love it.  Alot.
2010: Our lives are nuts, friend.  They're just bananas.  You're busy.  I'm busy. There's a new baby Claire! The world doesn't seem to stop spinning but we've always had the kind of friendship that just picks up where we left our last conversation and that I really, really love.
2011: And here we are!  This year one of my favorites was our unexpected movie date to see Breaking Dawn!  I love how sometimes plans just happen.  Popcorn for lunch, talking loudly through previews, laughing at our own jokes at people that forgot to silence their phones.  It's like we're still a couple of 14 year olds. Well.  Minus major soda spillage. ; )

And so, dear friend, as the clock is nearing midnight on this your birthday eve, I set aside my late night snacks of Sweet Tarts + Cheetos (wishing they were Pringles) and want to wish you the happiest of days as we are, officially, grown ups.  And my heart is full to overflowing with the blessing of having a friend that I have very much so grown up with.  And I have a funny feeling that there is still more growing up for us in the years to be.  Thank you for being there through it all.

Love, Jessica

P.S. And to you, reader friends, I'd love to hear your favorite memories with our birthday girl! Happy, happy birthday wishes are the best!

5 comments:

Penny said...

Itall started around 1965-1966. I was in 4th grade. I met a little girl who would become my bestest friend for one year. Her name was....Shannon. Oh, how I loved Shannon, and most especially her name. I think most little girls dream of having a daughter of their very own someday. I know I did.
Fast forward 12 years or so, and we were elated to find ourselves pregnant with out third and final baby. We had our 2 boys, who we loved beyond words, but there was still something missing from this Mama's life. A daughter. How I prayed for a daughter. I made promises to God. "I'll brush her hair and fix it EVERYday, God. I'll raise her up to be a strong woman, God. I'll do whatever it takes if You will just give me a daughter".
Born 6 weeks early, and by the Grace of the same God that I prayed to, I finally delivered my little girl. Thank You God! Small, yes, at only 5 1/2lbs. But a definite fighter. I just knew in my Mama's heart of hearts that MY Shannon would be special. I have NOT been disappointed.
Strong-willed. Independent. Confident, and yet one of the most tender hearted women that I know. 'What are you doing, Shannon?' 'Oh, I'm just making candy bags for everyone in Show Choir.' 'Really? That's a chunk of your paycheck sweetie.' 'Yeah, I know, but I love doing things for them.' Just an example of the giving heart that belongs to my daughter.
I could go on singing her praises forever, but to those of you who know her, I would be 'singing to the choir'. So...I'll end it with this:
Shannon, you are the daughter I always dreamed of. I don't know what I must have done to find favor with God, but it must've been something good. Dad and I are fiercely proud of the woman you've become, and all that you stand for.
You will always be Daddy's little girl...and one of the apples of Mom's eye. You are loved. Beyond measure.
Happy Birthday beloved daughter. God bless you as you continue to serve only Him. I love you.
Mom

Michelle said...

I don't know if I can be as poetic as Jessica and Penny (thanks for making me tear up ladies!), but I would love to publicly thank Shannon for being such a wonderful friend. It may seem like a silly or expected thing to some, but I was so amazingly touched that Shannon and our girlfriends threw me such a beautifully wonderful baby shower. I've rarely had good girlfriends in my life (I was always sort of a 'tomboy' or a 'guys gal', I actually had a "Man-of-Honor" instead of a "Maid-of-Honor"!), so I really, really appreciated being spoiled like a girl! Thank you so much Shannon for being such a fantastic friend! xo

Angela said...

This is a beautiful, inspiring post about a beautiful, kind woman. Thank you for sharing your memories, dear Jessica. Happy Birthday, sweet Shannon!

The Anonymous Dater said...
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Summer said...

Oh Jessuhkuh, you nailed those highschool days to a tee. ;)

Shannon- the friendship between us is the one I have had the longest ... If my math is right (which is doubtful) that is 23 years!?!? Raisin bread science projects, racing scooters down my hill, and (I'm sure) driving our parents crazy. No matter how much physical distance has been between us or how just growing up has evolved our friendship ... I hold you near and dear to my heart. You are loving, selfless, and pure of heart. You never cease to amaze me with all the "goodness" you bring to those of us that love you and to anyone else who crosses your path. Thank you for the unconditional friendship and inspiration. May the next year be filled with more blessings, love, and life experiences than you know what to do with. XOXO