Monday, January 7, 2013

Friendship and Turtle Beans

Tomorrow I'm going to be meeting with some mommies in the PTA at Gavin's school, so I can begin working on a committee or two and give back to the school.  This is a new world for me, as I've been on the educator's side of all the great things a supportive PTA can provide a school.

Now, I'll be utilizing the PTA as a way to fulfill an inner need to help make my son's (and eventually, my daughter's) school an even better place.  If the way in which I can do that is to bake cupcakes, well then I'll tie my apron strings and whip up some buttercream.  (Actually, I'm going to be helping work on the yearbook...which works well, considering my sweet friend Annette and I created the yearbook in my former school with the help of some wonderful parent/photogs (and, in the last few days before it was due...lots and lots of Starbucks!)

There's happens to be a secondary benefit to becoming an active PTA mommy; the opportunity to interact with other mommies with (hopefully) some common threads among us.  I've been trying to remind myself that this 'lonesome' phase (for lack of a better word) is only temporary, and in time, I will have a nice little circle of friends with whom I can feel 'connected' to this place.  In Colorado, it was fortuitous that I found employment in an area where I not only befriended my colleagues and many mothers of students, but also found some of my deepest friendships within that community.  Now that I'm here in Texas, the opportunities for 'finding friends' will most likely be found via kid-connection.  Strange to think I'm relying on my 6, 4, and almost-2 year old to help me make friends.  Awesome.

I've been missing my friends in Colorado recently.  A lot.  The ones I saw nearly every day, and the ones with whom my interactions were limited to monthly dinners with Facebook posts in between.  Each of my girlfriends fills a part of my soul and gives me a beautiful reminder to be grateful for all the blessings I have in my life.

One of these friends I have in Colorado is the sweet Jen.  Jen's daughter was in my class this school year, and when I saw her name on my list, I was so excited.  I knew this would allow me the opportunity to have an amazingly sweet and caring little girl in my classroom, as well as get the opportunity to know Jen better.  I had met Jen a few years prior, when she donated her amazing photography skills to take cast photos of my drama club actors.  We would exchange friendly hellos when we'd see each other in front of the school after the bell rang, and I had mentioned to her that I was interested in having her take our family photos (which, of course, she did in Fall of 2012, before we moved).  There was something about Jen that intrigued me and made me want to be her friend.  Have you ever met someone like that?  She just has this friendliness and genuine heart that I could sense even from the simple 'hellos' we'd exchange in the crosswalk.  Through another mom of one of my students (well, actually 2...make that 3...I either taught or directed all of the kids in the family!), I came to find Jen's blog.  Well, it's really Jen and Amy's blog, and I've mentioned them in a couple of my older posts.  These amazingly beautiful and busy moms of three kids also co-author GraceFULL Home, where they share inspirations of faith, family, and friends.  They have given me many opportunities over the years I've been following to stop and give a 'nod to God' when life seems to become all-consuming.

Like when you find out that you have to move to Texas.  In the first few weeks of a school year you are *in love* with.

When I notified the parents of our family's plan to move south, thus taking me away from the kids I had grown to love so very quickly, Jen was one of those friends who reached out to me in support.  She had a daughter who was sad to lose me as a teacher (the ultimate compliment as a teacher), but also saw that the whole process was hard on me as well because it left me torn with part of my heart in Colorado and part of my heart wrapped up in the potential and exciting unknown of our new adventures in Texas.

Jen reached out to me, had our family over for dinner, and even watched and fed the kids for me so I could handle things involved with getting the house on the market.  She stopped into my classroom in the mornings as the bell rang.  She brought me coffee and would send in a few of her yummy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins 'just because'.  And, as I mentioned before, she captured some of the most amazing family moments for us in Denver (twice!) and did a phenomenal job in doing so.
Thank you so much for these memories, Jen!
We have both said to each other that we wish we had gotten to know each other sooner...had more time together before I moved.  When I think about the friendship that developed in that short amount of time, I know it is because of Jen's dynamic personality.  While we may not have had the gift of a lot of time to 'really get to know' each other, there's something her genuine heart that makes me feel as though I am a better person for having her in my life.

Like I said, I've been thinking about my friends in Colorado a whole lot recently, and as Jen and I were texting this weekend, I told her I think of her every day.  Today I was really channeling her, when I made one of the recipes from her recipe blog (this isn't the same as her GraceFULL home blog...or her photography blog...seriously, how does this girl fit it all in?!?!).  Her recipe for Turtle Bean Burritos is seriously so easy...and so yum.  Gavin even asked for some leftovers in his school lunch.  I highly recommend them.  She made these for our family when we went over for dinner, so it was a nice little way to feel connected to her and her amazingly sweet family.

I know Jen and I didn't get a chance to spend a lot more time together before I left, but that's ok.  Friendships have so many different characteristics  so many definitions, and so many depths.  Discovering friendships down here might take me a little longer and on a different path than I'm expecting, but I know that with the foundation of friendships I have in both Pennsylvania and Colorado, I feel surrounded by love and support...even if it's over 1,000 miles away.

photo credit: Jen Severn


1 comment :

  1. what a sweet post! you are so right about jen, she IS an amazing friend. we are so blessed to have her in our lives.
    stacey mahaffie