A Good Friend...

Jo Jo

Now that I've been around the block a few times, strayed away from the entire neighborhood and come back again, only to leave (and come back yet again), I can truly appreciate what it is to have a good friend in my life. One that's been there for me wherever and whenever and is there even when I haven't had the foresight to know that there is a need that needs to be met. The kind of friend that no matter how many times I've asked or demanded of advice or help, she just listens and is present...and that ends up truly being the help that I needed. For me, that's been my friend Jo. I've known her since the fourth grade...back when I wore purple jogging suits with images of dinosaurs dancing on them to school and she donned the classic too huge for the face glasses that's lenses were shaded a pale sky blue on the top and a rosy pink on the bottom. Back when it was a big deal to wear best friend necklaces and to pin the ankles of our frosted jeans. We served on student council together. We were in yearbook together. I drove her nuts with my goofy (and often times annoying I am sure) shenanigans...her always being the responsible one, making sure we would meet the deadlines and have all of our responsibilities taken care of and met. I was the one making sure that there was always a stash of Funyuns and Snicker bars hidden away somewhere in the yearbook room, that and a pass signed (or that at least looked like it was signed) by a teacher. We wore poodle skirts and came up with a routine with friends for our 50's dance at school and walked away with first prize. We worked together at the same restaurant after school and on weekends. I went to parties that her older brother had in their family's basement. There were many "firsts" to have been had in that basement. Ouija boards, mock seances (in which Elivis made an appearance!), games of truth or dare, etc. I remember there was one night when we were with some older boys and a bunch of us girls got in the car with them (they had been drinking) and I was totally not okay with it and wanted out of the car (which was so not cool at the time). She was the one that told them to stop the car and to let me out...and then she got out with me and we walked to her house together. She never made it a big deal, in fact I don't even know if we talked about it. We've comforted one another over our imperfect families, letting each other know that it's okay to not be perfect and to be scared and to just not know. We've doubted together and have been absolutely sure about things. After taking a break from college and moving into my own place for awhile she called me up one day to let me know that she was coming and to look for a two bedroom for us to rent. She came. She helped me get over the guy that I thought was the "one." She agreed (most of the time) to not pick up the phone if a guy that I happened to be avoiding would call. She put up with most of my harebrained ideas. She let me dress her up in crazy clothes (I dressed up too) and agreed to walk around town with me late at night just to see what people's reactions would be. We were so silly, so real, so "us" when we lived together in that apartment. I remember hiding underneath her bed and scaring her half to death because she thought she was home alone. She was the first person that I told about my parents decision to get a divorce. She is the only person that knows first hand what that pain felt like for me. What it looked like. She was the first person that I told about my dad getting Parkinson's Disease. The one time that we fought was a down and out free for all. It was over my deciding to move out and to go back to school. We were slamming doors (and they were old, heavy doors so it was loud) and there was yelling...before the flood of tears (and downright sobbing) and hugging. She was there for me on my wedding day. When I got pregnant and was terrified, she was there. When I held a newborn in my arms and felt that I had lost every sense of who it was that I was, she reminded me that I still existed. She's been there for me through tough times, poor times, good times, times when I had no idea what I was going to do or what this life was throwing my way and how it was that I was going to deal.

Yesterday I got an email from her. It was just one paragraph (totally her style) and she was telling me how she was at work and was listening to the radio and that there was this band, Bomshel on and that they were being interviewed. They were talking about a song that they had recently released titled, Fight Like a Girl. She said that it was "empowering for women" and that it made her think of me...and that I should share it with other women here on my blog. So I am.

I love you Jo Jo, thank you for being you...and for letting me be me.
Vicky said...

What a mighty fine tribute to your friend :) You both are truly blessed to have each other!

Patty S said...

wow. she is lucky to have a friend like you. and visa versa! tfs