About two weeks ago, my good friend Jeanie sent me a message on Facebook offering to come over and help me decorate my Christmas tree. Jeanie and I met about 16 or 17 years ago in a syntax class. We were both 'non-traditional' students who were going back to school to get a degree. She was working on a degree in Spanish while I was working on a degree in English. Syntax, a required course for both degrees, brought us together. I think Jeanie was the one who reached out to me first, but soon, we were study buddies. That was the beginning a very long standing and dear friendship.
When I first met Jeanie, she was not planning on teaching. Then, after getting her degree, she decided to go back to school to get endorsed to teach Spanish. Once she was in the classroom teaching, I kept after her to get her ESL endorsement. Now, she teaches ESL, has her masters in ESL and is working on a second masters in History. I am very proud of Jeanie. She has quite a story to tell about her life. As a young child, she worked in the fields in California. Now she is a teacher who is working on her second masters degree. Jeanie is a great role model for me.
Jeanie and I have kept our friendship strong over the years by going to dinner on a regular basis or by getting together whenever there was a teaching conference we were both attending. About four or five years ago, she came over and spent the day helping me decorate for Christmas just because she missed doing that for an old friend of hers who had passed away.
The day Jeanie came to decorate, my calendar had this quote, "Go often to the house of a friend. For weeds soon cover the path." Unfortunately, the path from her house to mine had become a bit overgrown. It had been much longer since our last meeting than either of us would have liked.
Once the tree was all fluffed out, we started hauling up boxes from the basement. My goal was just to get the tree decorated.
Jeanie thought I should decorate the windows in the family room as well as the mantle. So, once we got the tree done, she went to work on her next project.
After about three hours of chatting, decorating, laughing, and crying a bit, our job for the day was done. My tree was up and decorated. The family room had a garland over the window and a garland on the fireplace mantle. I was famished, so once we had posed in front of the newly decorated tree for a photo to record our day together, we were off for pizza.
Holidays are rough when one has lost a loved one. Jeanie lost her brother this year, and I lost my daughter. Being with friends who care and understand, is very healing. Decorating for the holidays can be a bit daunting after a loss of major significance. Thanks Jeanie for being my friend, for helping me get started with decorating, and for being there for so many.