Cute family, yes? This is Julie Jones. And five beautiful kids. Kids who look not only beautiful but happy. And these kids are not Julie's. The Atkins kids lost their father two years ago and then lost their mother to cancer six months later. So Julie Jones, already a mother of three grown boys, opted to raise her best friends children. So first and foremost, no child should lose their parent. I am 40 and can't fathom what that day will be like when my parents are no longer alive. These kids ranged in age from 4 - 10 when their parents died. But the bigger picture is to see a picture of a happy family and the realization that all families are not made the same way. And this group found a way to move it forward. As a Mom, it hits me in all the right places the power and benevolence of people.
And our general happiness is very contingent upon who is central in our lives. So you already know your 2012 mantra should be "No Toxic People" and we all seem to know one or two. And another mantra should be to be as great of a friend as you can be. Maybe you wouldnt need your best friend to raise your child should there be a tragedy but it made me think not only as a Mom but because I am the best friend to a fabulous woman.
MarciaGarcia and I met in law school. We were a tight knit group of eight and operated inseparably during that very academic, very challenging and very fun investment of time and focus. And our friendship has changed and grown from nights were were drinking dollar pitchers of Keystone (don't mock) and dancing to 80s music (you know you love to do this) to raising children. Our philosophies on life compliment one another but doesn't always work in perfect synchronicity. We agree on certain things, we support one anothe regardless and we operate under a very open and honest way of communicating. And I am so lucky to not only have that type of friendship but recognize it. And when we were sipping Keystone Light out of pitchers (way to go, classy time) and bellowing out the lyrics to Electric Avenue, we could not have predicted the adventures ahead. Adventures that include amazing elements of fun (NYC Fashion Week) and life challenges that force you to grow. I admire her so much as a leader, a friend and a Mom at the same time that wise, witty, sarcastic friend I have had for 17 years. And if my son had to go and be raised by my best friend, I know he would be cherished and loved the same way we cherish and love him now. I know he would learn so much and have every opportunity to grow up to be an amazing man.
As we get older, it is very easy to make surface level friends. These are the equivalent to the "friend" in class you never talked to after the semester was over, or your post-college cocktail pals from work. Developing real friendships takes work but we all know some friendships are just much easier, more fun and more worthwhile than others. And I love to have a friend who can see me at best and worst, stood in my wedding, was there the day my son was born, is his Godmother and loves our child, cheers me on to run a half marathon, applauds me when I sing karaoke, reads my blog daily, shares ideas, shares recipes, shares fears, tears it up in New York, tears it up in Vegas (my word that trip was crazy fun), stay home and make a family dinner for our kids, shares advice, shares critique when needed, disagrees when needed, guides and responds. The deepest friendships are truly rare. I have learned so much from you MG and know that statement will ring true for decades to come.
I hope you have amazing friendships in your life and that the people you love know exactly how you feel about them.
From Chicago, enjoy your week.JennyMac