March 18, 1994 was a special day. Granted, I wasn’t alive for it yet, but I would be just a month from that day.
Today is my best friend’s birthday. I’m probably going to start crying as I type this post because after college, Jenna got married and moved to Maine with her husband. From her house to mine is exactly sixteen hours and fifty-four minutes. Way too far.
Jenna and I met in our composition class in college freshman year. I remember having to read a selection from a book and act it out with a group. Jenna was so funny. We became fast friends. Sophomore year, we signed up for classes together because we were both education majors and didn’t want to take classes alone. We did projects together, had late study sessions in the library, and ate a lot of junk food on the weekends as we watched Phantom of the Opera (our personal fave). Jenna started dating someone her sophomore year, a guy named Mason. I seriously think he’s an angel. He went to our school for a year and then had to transfer back home to Maine for personal reasons. Thus began Jenna’s long distance relationship. As hard as it was for her, and trust me it was hard, it was also hard on me. It’s not easy watching your best friend hurt so deeply for someone she grew to love and knew she’d one day marry.
Junior and senior year were sort of a blur. Classes got more intense, field experiences began, and our friendship grew stronger even still. Jenna’s long distance relationship with Mason seriously taught me what love really looked like. Even though they didn’t see each other face to face quite often, their relationship was built on truth, honesty, and friendship. I don’t think Jenna’s capable of having relationships built on anything else which is why we clicked and became close so fast. I like to think I was there for her on the hard days (which I was), but she really was my person. We “got” each other. When Mason proposed, I was thrilled for the two of them. I felt like I had a front row seat watching their relationship unfold.
Senior year was full of wedding planning and wedding showers galore up until her wedding day. I joke with Mason that he stole her away from me, but truly he was bringing her home and I knew our friendship could stand the test of time and (too many) miles. I stood up in their wedding, and she in mine years later. She’s the sister I never had, the best friend I’ve always wanted.
Today is her birthday. She’s 25 and getting ready to embark on her next adventure. Mason and Jenna move to North Carolina next month and I’m not complaining. I’ve loved visiting Maine but I’m ready for the beach! Next week I travel once more to Portland where I’ll spend a week with her. I can’t wait to help her pack, read a book to her first grade classroom, and binge watch TV shows while eating too much chocolate.
It’s so special to have someone you know you can always rely and depend on. Jenna is that person for me. I count myself very lucky to have a friend like Jenna – a friend turned sister.
Happy Birthday, sweet Jenna. Who is one friend you are grateful for?