Note: This is really long, and might be different then you’re used too.This might be a little all over the place, but I hope you understand my message. I hope you love it. Blessings, Smiles, Prayers, and Music! Jenessa Joy.
PS–Anyone who is here again for a second look, when I cut and pasted it WordPress mushed it together, and edited it weird, it has now been resolved. Hope you enjoy it. –JJ.
The other night I went to a bridal shower. Now, having a lot of family, and family-friends I have gone to my fair share of bridal showers. For a 17 year old girl—a somewhat surprising amount! This bridal shower was different though, this was my first friend that was exclusively my friend. It was not a group family-friend, it was not a cousin, an Aunt, or a second cousin. She’s my friend. She has no ties with my family except for the fact that she is my friend and she knows OF my family.
In preparation for this bridal shower I had to go shopping for a present. If you know me you know I’m undeniably a gift person. I love giving gifts. I like it when people smile, I like it when people light up, I like it that they feel loved and realize that I love and thought of them when I got the gift. I like that. A lot. All my life I have put careful thought, planning, and effort into my gifts. It’s what I do. Now for the first time in my 17 years I stepped into a store and felt utterly LOST. Now if you’re like me, you’ve probably felt confused, conflicted, unsure, frustrated, and for lack of a better word, un-creative when looking for the “perfect” gift.
This feeling was NOT that. I had had that feeling before. As a person who is a giver of gifts I’m quite acquainted to those feelings while getting presents. But it had always been for birthdays, Christmas, and helping my Dad with anniversary and Valentine’s Day Gifts…I had never bought for a WEDDING SHOWER before.
This feeling was new, one of sheer panic, and surprise. I felt out of place as I shopped the home-goods isles of Winners searching for the perfect gift.
Now, as someone who wears two different earrings, has been known to wear a turban, and has never had a boyfriend –I’m used to being out of place!
Again, this was new. This was the feeling of being out of one’s time bracket, and in weirdness shopped for something that was unfamiliar.
Now, I have always been considered mature, (not my descriptions…others portrayal of me: please note that.) but through this whole experience I came to realize that I was turning 18 this year. I don’t feel mature enough for that. And in my opinion I was NOT old enough to be shopping for wedding gifts.
That was when it hit me.
I’m growing up.
In the store, I panicked over practical and pretty things, but solved the problem with a compromise of practical and pretty things. I left the store with the feeling of false-adulthood, success, and a pitcher, with two storage jars.
When I went to the shower I was hit (yet again!) with another revelation!
I was the youngest one there. Again, this was weird.
Then I realized something else. I was friends with almost all of them. My friend Jackie (who is a wife, and mother, of soon to be 2 children) and I started talking about it. I was enlightened by the fact that many of the people there (along with many others) I considered my “family”. They are the people I hold dear, and they are of all ages. (Though only some of the older ones were present at the shower.) Now I am going to be taking a moment to discuss the age and diversity of my friends.
I have friends that are little, the little children that are the “little-little” siblings I never had. They are my tiny siblings. And I love them dearly. I babysit some of them. I do consider them my friends, and brothers and sisters. I hope they love me, and feel comfortable talking, coming, and looking up to me.
Then there are my pre-teen friends my “brothers and sisters”, 10, and 11. The people I hope will be able to look up to me. Then there are my friends, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. My friends that are 12, 13, and 14 I hope to be there “Cool Older Sister”, and one of their good friends. And in complete honesty: they are really close to me. My friend Nicole is (almost) 14, I have known her her ENTIRE life. (No, I promise I’m not exaggerating, I have pictures of me holding her as a baby.) Now of the ages of: 17 and (almost) 14 we are really close. Also my friend Ellen, (12 almost 13) I consider a really good friend. She’s awesome. She is also Nicole’s best friend. If I am being completely honest, I forget their ages most of the time, all I know is both of them are super close to me, and I love them. So much. And when I do remember their ages I hope to be the “cool older sister”, and set an example.
15: My friend Ben is 15. He doesn’t act like it though. Half the time I forget that he’s younger than me. Most of the time I think we’re the same age. He drives me insane, he insults me (playfully), and he will always be there for me. As much as I don’t hate to say it, he’s awesome. (Don’t tell him I said that though, it’ll go to his head.) Then there’s Genevieve. Again, 15, she’s amazing. We cover music, friends, God, hobbies, internet, school, and I never think about how much younger she is. She’s one of my closest friends.
Sixteen: At sixteen Carlee and Libby are two of my best friends. I can tell them anything, I can trust them, and I love them.
Nineteen: My “twin brother” is nineteen. Okay, my ACTUAL twin is 17 and a month younger than me (go figure that one out! 😉 ) But my “nineteen-year-old-twin” Nathanial is the male version of me in most aspects. (Besides the fact that he doesn’t like Taylor Swift, and hates fruit…the weirdo).
Now, I’m going to stop naming ages for a moment…but continuing onward Mr. A is my friend, he’s great. I’m really close with him; he has been my youth leader for 3 years, and my teacher for two. He’s my friend, and like my Uncle. Then there is Mrs.A, she is funny, sweet, kind, and charming. I love her to death.
Miss Joy is next. Though I don’t get to talk to her much anymore, she is one of my role-models, and a wife and mother to four kids. Her name says it all. She radiates joy, I would love to be like her.
Miss Sarah started introducing me into the “family” dynamic, unknowingly when she gave me a card at my baptism that was signed: “your sister in Christ, Sarah”. I thought it was strange, until I realized she was like an older sister.
Last but not least, my parents. I can’t fail to mention the people who raised me, they are not only my parents, but they are my friends too.
I could go on. But I’ll stop there. God has truly blessed me with many amazing people in my life of all ages, and they are truly my family. I haven’t even touched on the older-then-my-age people at Potluck, people I work with at my school, met through volunteer work or at the Church that I grew up in…the Swans, Patrick, the Heptings, Cheryl B., Erin D., Hannah, Heather, etc.
I have few friends my age, only a couple that are exactly 17, but I don’t think it matters. I think that it’s overrated that you need to be friends with your specific age. I have great friends my age. But I have plenty that are my seniors, and plenty that I have seniority over. I discovered all this at the bridal shower, and as Jackie and I discussed this she told me: “I think I like it better that way, the way you’re doing it.” Coming from a caring mother that means a lot.
I have a family, and a support system of people who love me. Of all ages. It works. I get along with all of them, they love me, I love them. I get to get to know people of all cultures, age groups, and experiences. I get a boat load of knowledge that they pass along as well. (I’m not only talking about the “old” people, have you heard some facts 3 year-olds can spew out?) I forget their ages, and 98% of the time I really don’t care. The only time I care is really when I need to write their age down somewhere, or I need to give them a present.
Age is really just a number, and I’m really, really, really happy I have friends or “framily” as I have just this moment coined them, (friends that are family!) that are of all ages. A family is diverse. Friends are family you choose. My framily is a bunch of crazy, intelligent, diverse, original, amazing people that I love. Most of them are a little nutty. But that’s okay. I am too. I discovered all this on the road and arrival of friend’s bridal shower. She’s getting married. I’m the youngest, I’m okay with that. I have a framily. Age is just a number; you never have to be confined to being friends with one age. Diversity is a good thing. A framily? It’s a very, very good thing. ~Jenessa Joy