That time when my best friend lived with my family for 8 years...

I was always that girl who had a ton of friends that were guys.I simply have never understood girl drama...especially in high school.  I could name off the handful of girls I had as friends on 1 or 2 hands. Jill...well she was always one of them.  I can actually remember the moment I met Jill outside of French Club.  (Yes, I went to "French Club" exactly...2 or 3 times.  Attention span was even worse back then.) By the time we were 16 I was picking her up for school at 6 something in the morning with Violent Femmes and Nine Inch Nails (basically whatever loudest most obnoxious music I could find at the time) blaring as I drove her to school....and then I would normally skip because school was a hard reminder how not normal my life was. And even then I was not built for traditional school...my grade point average actually went up a full point when "skipping" became a normal occurrence...but I digress. She was always quiet and a very good girl.  I was always obnoxious and while a good girl...I was smack in the middle of more family drama than one girl ever should be and spent a good deal of time buried under working my 2-3 jobs. Jill had this amazing family though and I always loved going over there and just watching how they were all interacting and happy. Fast forward to around 18 and I started traveling up and down the road to Virginia to be with Daryl. Long story short I moved here a few weeks after 19 and the rest is history.

For every little event in my life...the good...the bad... and the horrible...there has always been two constants. Daryl and Jill. Always there these two. I always say Daryl is my "soul mate" and Jill is my "soul sister".   Both are my best friends. Those people that I feel sooooo lucky to have had in my life for...most of it.  How many people can say that?  A few but not many.

I can tell you that I do not have a ton of people that I really feel "close" to. Oh sure I have tons of friends and acquaintances that I enjoy but few who really know me well. You guys know what I share here but there are only a few who know what I don't share. I like to think every blogger is like that.  The world thinks you share everything but in reality you only show the bits and pieces you don't mind sharing.  There are always things you keep to yourself.  It's part of being human. I am actually a bit more on the "closet introvert" side of the spectrum.  I truly enjoy being by myself...prefer it most days. But I have never met a stranger and normally get folks life stories within about 5 minutes of knowing them. I find people fascinating but often exhausting.  I am not good with trusting. I have learned the hard way that people come and go but those people who have stayed...well THOSE are the people I focus most of my energy on these days.  Because they are awesome like that and totally deserve my full attention. I am always reminding the kids "quality not quantity".  Chose friendships and people that are good friends/people and will weather life with you.  Not those who will flake out the first sign of bad weather or a grumpy day.

Back to Jill. Today is her 8 year anniversary being part of our family here. She came down one Summer to be our live in Nanny while I went off to run the photography studio and travel for the wedding season. She had been laid off and we wanted a Summer together...like the good old days.  She was up for the adventure and already known around these parts as "Aunt Jill".  She was their Godmother...there for every wedding, birth/death and everything in between. She is this amazing calm spirit in this house.

A year or so into her "Summer with us"...because the Summer lasted 8 years so far...We had to make the decision to pull the kids from traditional school and I would start homeschooling.  I let the brick and mortar studio go to come home and work with the kids. I still traveled alot for work and it was always nice to have Aunt Jill here to hold down the fort. We have a VERY small extended family and with my side of the family being gone and well...in Ohio...our support network is tiny. Very tiny.  We had very few to call on in an emergency to watch kids or even a date night. In almost three years Lucas has never spent a single night away from us if that tells you anything. Having Aunt Jill has been such a Godsend.  She now has a full time job of course...the girl does have bills after all...but every extra minute she gets she is just simply part of this unique, odd family of ours. We always tease that we don't know who would need therapy more if she ever left us.  The kids, us or her? As I know better than most...true "family" is often the hand picked variety. Our kids even know her family as their own...because they are amazing people.

I always get the comments like: "I could never let another woman in my house!" "I couldn't let another woman be that close to my kids..." I just think...they don't have "a Jill" in their life. "A Jill" (as we lovingly say) is someone who is: SelflessKindGenerousA team playerHonestLoyal beyond loyalAlways positive...about everythingWill cry with youLaugh with youLoves doing laundryLoves children...and they love herOrganizedDependableand all around....a rare breed.  Very. If you find "a Jill" I will say count your blessings and keep her close. Your children can NEVER have to many people that love them.  It's impossible.  No such thing as "too many people love my child". A friend like Jill is absolutely priceless. We all love her. She is here to stay.  I can't imagine my life...our life... without her.

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In 28 years we have never had a single fight.  Not one.  We can get a bit snarky  once in awhile but just laugh about it. Happy 8 year anniversary Jill!  Glad you are part of our family! :-) Here's to another 8 years!