Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Friends are Awesome: Jen

Jen and I were talking about friendship at one point during our first year dating, and Jen said that she considered me her best friend. At the time I thought it was a very sweet sentiment and said so, but I also thought it was such a girly girl thing to say. I mean, sure, I thought she was a friend, but your boyfriend/girlfriend isn't your best friend! Everybody knows that other guys are best friends for guys and girls are best friends for girls! That's just how it is! Are girls going to stay up late playing video games, watching terrible movies, eating candy and drinking soda?

And yet, somewhere along the line, I started not just thinking of her just the woman I loved or a person I liked, but my best friend too.

I always liked Jen before I loved her. I first hung out with her when I was dating a crazy girl. Jen was a friend of Dave's, back home from college and looking to hang out with some of her buddies. So she hung out with me and Dave and crazy girl and later that night we decamped to the Lord's house to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I remember thinking that she seemed really nice. I suppose I thought she was pretty, but I didn't really notice that except in the abstract sense, because that's something I don't tend to notice when in a relationship with someone else. I've always thought Jen was pretty. I still think she that she has the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.

We had another close encounter when Dave and I were working at a local Laneco (a chain of combination grocery/general merchandise stores. The entry on wikipedia implies that they were the model for Wal-Mart's super centers).

I was working outside pushing carts around the parking lot. Dave was doing something in the store. I saw someone put a note on his car, so I went inside and mentioned it to him, "A little red-headed girl put a note on your car," so he went out, got the note, looked at it and said, "That's my friend Jen. You should go out with her." I said that I couldn't, because I was already dating somebody. (I was still with crazy girl)

But I eventually broke up with crazy girl and started dating Jen. I'll leave that for another post, since this is "My friends are awesome", not "How I met your mother".

Eric once said that if he ever met someone who said that they didn't like Jen, he'd want to know why.

When Jen and I met with the UU minister to for pre-marriage arrangements, the minister said that while she was advising us to get married, sometimes she'll advise a couple not to. She expressed a little concern about my tendency to put Jen on a pedestal. And I do that. And I understand the danger in that, when someone you've been holding up as an ideal fails, the more you have built that person up, the more devastating the eventual disappointment will be (Here lies a fallen god/ His fall was not a small one/ We did but build his pedestal/ A narrow and a tall one)

But here's the thing. She's too modest to admit it, but I believe that Jen is really as great as I think she is. She's kind and she's smart and she's a good and loyal friend and a great mommy. One time when we she was still out at college, near Pittsburgh, I sent her a letter (snail mail!) that said that she should never change. She should evolve and become more of what she is, but that she should never change from that fundamental Jen-ness.

One time Greg mentioned that I got the better deal out of the marriage. And I think he intended that as an insult, but is there any way I can deny really that? She's better than I deserve, but being with her helps me become a better person. And I don't want to use Jack Nicholson's line from As Good as it gets, but I guess I might as well, because I'm sure you're all thinking it. She makes me want to be a better man.

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