Growing Up with Friend #180: Jenny

Friend #180: Jenny
Date and Location of Visit: Monday, October 17, 2011 at Kaldi’s Coffee, Chesterfield, MO
Known from: Church growing up, high school
Last seen: 1997

Memories of Jenny: I have known Jenny since we were babies at church.  Having seen her every week for the first 18 years of my life, I have a lot of memories of her.  She has a very distinctive laugh.  And we heard it a lot because Jenny laughs a lot.  We endured confirmation class together, put on youth Sunday services together, were in youth group, went to Vacation Bible school in the summers.  We went to high school together, too, but I remember her more from the church’s smaller context.

About our Visit: Jenny and I met up for an evening cup of coffee. We would have done drinks, but she was avoiding alcohol due to her training for an upcoming half marathon the following weekend.  And she’d had a busy fall–I’d seen on Facebook she’d been at Mizzou’s homecoming the previous weekend and on a tropical vacation not long before that.  We greeted each other with a, “You look exactly the same!”  And before too long, I’d heard that distinctive laugh, exactly the same as I’d remembered.

Jenny is one among many who went off to school and came back to St. Louis.  It was never something she saw herself doing, but she said to her husband, as long as they travel, she could do it. And they do.  The tropical pictures I’d seen on Facebook were from the Virgin Islands where they went with a few friends.  And between college sorority sisters and childhood friends, St. Louis offers Jenny a lot of great people who provide a solid and fun support system.

Life is active for Jenny and her family.  She works as a nurse practitioner, in addition to mothering her two kids.  She ends up getting up SUPER early to go running to keep up with her marathon training schedule.  But she finds it’s better for everybody.  She’s happier, (good ol’ running endorphins), which makes her better able to do everything that needs to be done in a day.  I remember Jenny as a bit hyper and excitable, and now she and her family are definitely active, but they don’t seem busy.  There seems to be an ease and a settledness about her and her life.  It wasn’t until later reflecting on our conversation–hearing all that they do, but not at all sensing a tiredness or that it’s too much–that I realized that they must have struck a pretty decent rhythm.

And, just like our upbringing, Jenny takes her kids to a church just down the street from the one where we grew up.  She said she loved having all the experiences that we did at Sunday school and Vacation Bible School and wanted her kids to experience the same.  Maybe Los Angeles has gotten the better of me, but I was surprised to hear it.  But I also found it encouraging–and it made me remember all the fond memories we had together.  I think with the life that she’s living Jenny’s laugh will keep on echoing for a long time.  She just brings a joy with her wherever she goes.  It’s contagious and lasting.  Even thinking of it now brings a smile to my face.

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