Friends #57 and 58: Matt (aka Shag) and Jen (and Connor)

After lunch with Jon, I went to visit with Matt (aka Shaggy/Shag) and Jen and their son Connor on Sunday, July 17th…..and then I ditched them for Bono.  So I returned to have dinner with them on Monday July 18th.

Shag, because he’s tall and lanky and looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, is my brother’s college roommate.  They were both trombone players in the Michigan marching band and have been best friends ever since.  Shag would tease me like an older brother, playing music he knew I hated when I would go over to their house to play cards, but he was also caring and thoughtful like an older brother.  When I graduated from college, Shag got me this whirly globe lamp as a present, and I moved it around with me for several years thereafter because it was so special to me.

Shag and Jen have been married a little over 5 years, and she and I connected from the first moment we met.  She’s friendly and vivacious and is the type of person that you feel like you’ve known forever.  Both Shag and Jen and insanely brilliant–Jen has an MD/PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Shag is finishing a PhD in biomedical engineering.   They just moved to St. Louis for the next stage in Jen’s medical education.

When we were planning to get together, I kept offering to show them around St. Louis, forgetting that Jen actually spent a good chunk of her childhood there.  When I arrived on Sunday, we went to pick up Jen’s dress that was being altered, and as we drove through the neighborhood, I got to walk with Jen down memory lane, as she showed me her old street and school and friend’s houses.  Shag and Jen are family to me, and so it seems so perfect that they now live in the place I call home.

I got to meet little Connor for the first time. He is a bundle of energy and has just started a new behavior his parents have dubbed “The Trouble Shuffle.”  When he gets excited, he will start marching in place (almost like the high step of the Michigan marching band) and pumping his fists, head down, wagging his little bootie back and forth, and then he’ll do something mischievous….At least there’s fair warning.

Shag is one of the loudest, craziest, wackiest people I know.  And Jen can keep pace with him pretty well.  So between the two of them and Connor, a night at their house is far more entertaining than television.  Back when he and my brother lived together, I used to wonder whether Shag was organized enough to get himself dressed in the morning, and now he puts on a button down shirt to go get a PhD and can get a child dressed on top of it.  And Jen can somehow pursue the rigors of gruelingly long shifts and still be present when she gets home.  They are both great parents, which was a fun side of them to see.

We don’t interact on Facebook much, but like I said, we’re family, so we’ll be in each other’s lives whether or not we’re friends on Facebook.  But because of Facebook, I got to celebrate with them when Connor was born down in Florida and watch him grow. I got to see Jen all dolled up in the bridesmaid’s dress we picked up during our visit.  And now that they’re in St. Louis, this is only the first of many visits to come.


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