Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Story of Us. (Mostly Hannah.)

{ I love this picture of Hannah at our Going Away party in July.}
{Hannah framing me at the First Blog Party}
My friendship with Hannah is a constant reminder that things, and people, may not be what they seem. That allies and friends lay where you sometimes least expect. When I first met Hannah, I disliked her immediately. This was not her fault; she happened to be a victim of circumstance as far as my aversion to her was concerned. One month after Lola died, I returned to work, taking a new job where I essentially replaced Hannah as she left to have Mya. Mya's birth was all the buzz a week after I started work, when no one but my boss knew that I had just buried my baby. I couldn't stand the sight of babies, pregnant women, or new mothers, and here just a month after Lola's death, Hannah came traipsing into work with her baby girl-the object of adoration and conversation all over the office. The one I was supposed to have had. Needless to say, I was resentful. She had just found out about my misfortune and obviously felt uncomfortable and avoided me, which I was grateful for. Still, I took her to be standoffish and brusque. A friendship with her was the last thing on my mind.
{Mya and Bella sharing Good Times. Once Mya stopped being afraid of Bella.}
As time passed and began to heal my wounds, I found myself pregnant with Bella and trying to remain sane. When I was preparing for my leave to have Bella, I started talking to Hannah more and more as she was providing me with some work at home. I found that I didn't really detest her. When I had a baby shower for a co-worker's wife I felt it prudent to invite Hannah. She brought me the cutest blanket she had made for Bella, and I was touched. Not too long after that, I decided to start my own bookclub and hand-picked it's members. (Bridget, Rachelle, Diana, Robin, me, and...) I felt prompted to invite Hannah. I still didn't know her that well, and didn't even know if she liked to read, but after asking Robin's advice (who also worked with us) I decided to extend the invitation. She readily accepted, and we soon held our first meeting. Shortly after, I found myself having more and more lengthy conversations by phone at night when our husbands were otherwise indisposed. I remember talking to her for 2 or 3 hours with ease, when neither one of us are typical phone-talkers.
{Founding Members of our Bookclub}
{Me on vacation when Hannah called to tell me about a job listing she had found for me. She automatically picked up my search while I was out of town.}
{The surprise 2nd Birthday Party for Bella that Hannah organized}

Our friendship has been so strengthening, I believe, because of our differences. We offer the other something we don't have ourselves. For instance, I am the consummate home-body, where Hannah is self-described as 'get up and go.' If we were both like me, we would never see each other! She helps me get out of my comfort zone and shows me that sometimes we have to do things even though we'd rather not. Another major difference is that I am (overly) emotional, ruled by my feelings and have the tendency to treat my feelings as absolute truth without challenging self-defeating ideas. My dialogue is filled with 'I feel...' statements, where Hannah is logical, practical, and disciplined. At first it was so different to me that she wasn't emotional, or even occasionally moody. Like many of the important people in my life, she is even-keel and mature. I still struggle to grapple with my depression, sometimes only riding the waves. Despite these differences, Hannah still listens with a sympathetic ear, willing to try my point of view.
{Hannah and Jill helping out at Lola's Legacy- I still remember Hannah's outstanding and disturbing speed...}
{ I love that the 4 of us are such good friends.}
{And the two of us.}
Hannah is dependable, trustworthy, and steady. She is also irritatingly good at the big things in life- she is innately a great mother and wife. She has so many qualities worth emulating in these most important of positions in life. Her dedication to Lincoln and her girls, as well as her family as a whole is inspiring and rarely found today. She takes these roles seriously and puts her family before her own needs.
{Hannah in her Mothering Element}
{Our lost scrap sessions, at my house and Michelle's}
Hannah is strong in spirit- she weathers the storms of life with courage and resolution. She is a fighter, not easily daunted, and never defeated. Hannah is always supportive, and is one of the first to help whenever something is needed. She offers herself without waiting to be asked. Hannah and I can also have a discussion where we vary widely in our opinion of belief in something, yet we remain close and do not allow any distance to come between us because of those differences.
{When Hannah organized a Going-Away Surprise Party for us. I was not surprised- It was totally something Hannah -and the rest of my friends and family-would do.}
{Hannah helping me pack the kitchen}
I could go on and on about Hannah's admirable qualities and what makes her such an amazing friend, but it might get kind of long for the other readers. Any one of these traits would make her an outstanding woman and friend, but she possesses them all in spades. She is truly a blessing to my life and I treasure our friendship together and the lessons she has taught me.
Happy Birthday Hannah!!


Diana said...

What a tribute to Hannah. It's nice to have such special friends in your life and that you can keep that going even though you live far apart.

michelle said...

Great post, Jess. I'll never forget how shocked I was when you and Hannah became friends. (Wait. THAT Hannah?!)

Hannah is an amazingly dedicated mother and wife -- I wish I were equally so! I also admire her strength and level-headedness. What a great friend to consider your point of view, even when she may disagree with it.

And... spittoon again? Is that for Hannah's sake?

p.s. even after all this time, just reading "I had just buried my baby" makes my heart seize. sigh.

Anonymous said...

This post has me almost speechless and a little teary eyed! Wow. The trip down memory lane makes my heart ache a little knowing how far we have come and how easily we could have missed this awesome friendship. The things we have shared- I don't even want to imagine where I would be having only met you and nothing more.

All these traits and qualities that you see in me- they are all things I work towards and it is humbling to know that I must be making progress because someone who knows me so well sees it. You are dear to me and have changed me more than you will ever know. Love you Jessie!

Anonymous said...

And I totally noticed the spittoon label- most excellent!

charlotte said...

That is such a great post! I love having best friends--you two are lucky to have each other!

Jake Tanner said...

jessie you are so amazing... I'm so happy that your my sister in law....I love the pics and the amazing writing keep it up !!!! :)

RoRo said...

We all need a friend like Hannah, you obviously cherish your friendship and recognize what a blessing it is. It also takes two to make a great friendship so you must be a great friend too!

mom said...

There are no words for a friend such as Hannah. Friends like this come along once in a lifetime!

Treasure it up.

Bridget said...

This was a beautiful post about Hannah. You have such a way with words. I have noticed all these things in Hannah but could never put them down so well. We all love Hannah. Happy Birthday!
PS-spittoon? I don't get it?!

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