Jarrod was one of my first college friends. I smile as I write that sentence. He is one of the few people that can make me laugh out loud with abandon. He doesn't even have to try. Early on, he cracked some kind of seal on my funny bone and now he tickles me with the slightest nudge.
He's also terribly gross and read that last sentence in a super gross way. Heather is his wife and I truly hope she is giving him the stink eye.
Jarrod, Heather, Megan, and Jonathan
Heather started dating Jarrod almost immediately after we all started our freshman year together. Notice how I phrase that. I still shape it in my head as though she landed him before I could even find my footing, even these many years later. I was all doe-eyed over him and another boy the very day we all met, though I opted to target my silly girl powers on the other boy. The other boy was older and a more elusive "get." I figured I had loads of time to land Jarrod.
Heather is tiny and cute and a ballerina. I know. She also knows how to be gross, laughing at Jarrod's more vulgar jokes in a way I could never fathom. The day I knew I should give up my also-ran crush on Jarrod was the day I heard him and Heather rapping Snoop Dogg in the stairwell of our dorm. Perfectly in sync.
In other words, they were perfect for each other. And still are. Married the year we graduated.
Heather and I eventually became roommates in college, though our friendship became forever steadfast the moment we both became mothers. Our parenting styles synced much like D-O double-G, gin, and juice.
They are two of my best friends. Heather and Jarrod, not gin and juice, ya'll.
Nevertheless, I allowed nearly five years to pass without seeing them. Five years and now six children between us, though only a couple of states.
I've known for a few months now that the theme of "carving out time for friends" was coming up on our campaign calendar for Hallmark's Life Is A Special Occassion. My stomach dropped when I saw the suggested prompt because, put as simply as possible, I don't.
As each week ticked by on the calendar, I kept thinking about the importance of carving out time for friends. The suggestion was so casual, as though, of course!, everyone makes time for their friends. That's what normal, nice, human people do.
Humpf. And bah humbug.
They live six hours from Gulfport in Atlanta. Two weekends ago, I drove to Atlanta for a conference. Every waking moment of my days were filled by the conference, there would be no sneaking off to see Heather and Jarrod. No way. Wasn't possible. Just too busy. Me and my fancy pants and my fancy pants conference. Sorry. Enjoy all of those new children of yours, I'm sure they are lovely.
Dropping everything to jet off to a conference, often across the country, has become part of my monthly routine. But I can't be bothered to do the same to see my friends.
Huh. Aw. Buggar.
I swear, I could feel their proximity tug at my heart like gravity. By the middle of the first day, despite finding myself truly awe-struck by the conference, I couldn't resist their pull another moment and threw myself into Atlanta rush hour traffic, barrelling toward toward them at a snail's pace.
We spent a beautiful evening together, details are as silly as you would imagine, and it was all I could do to drag myself back to my stupid hotel room. No time had passed between us, no love lost in the craggy bits of my bah humbug heart.
I wanted to cry as I pulled away from their house, warm and festooned for Fall. Everything that I loved about being young with them shone in the space between us as they waved goodbye. I miss them so very much.
We have to do a better job. We don't have to be those young, silly kids again, no, but the shared love between us can pull those silly kids to the surface every now and then. Let them marvel in the crisp Fall air at the stodgy grown-ups we've become.
Because with so much drama in the L-B-C, it's kinda hard bein' Snoop D-O double-G.
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Heather and Jarrod sent all of the above college photos to me shortly after we lost all of our own photos in Hurricane Katrina, including every single shot from college. I can't begin to tell you what their thoughtfulness meant to me.
I can totally shake my head at all of those random boys, though. I quite liked being a silly girl.
This last one? That's Heather in our dorm room. In the chair, under the window, is Jarrod. On the couch is me and Al, just as we started dating. All of our lives, just over her shoulder. See you there.
Hallmark is a sponsor of VelveteenMind.com through the end of 2011.
I don't know about you, but this whole Life Is a Special Occasion campaign is starting to stick for me.
Shake off your bah humbug and sign up for their newsletter. They'll know I sent you and I think that means one of the craggy bits in my heart will fill with a little more cheer. Plus you'll get discounts and cheer of your own, just in time for the holidays. ;)
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