There's so many times in my life where I sit and dwell on the negative because something broke in the house or something didn't go my way at work. I don't like that I do it, but I do. But it's days like today - and friends like Jake - that remind me time after time to refocus those thoughts on all the great things I do have. Especially the people I have in my life.
I'm not always good at expressing feelings verbally, but I like writing them down. If you know me, you know that much. I probably don't tell you face to face what you mean to me, but if I can write it down, I will. So I've decided to spend a few blog posts over the next year talking about the great people in my life, and giving them some kudos because they deserve it ;)
Let me tell you a little about Jake. I've known him about 10 years. He was a friend of a friend, and I can't tell you exactly how, but that summer of 2001, we all just sort of started hanging out together. It's one of those great mysteries of life, but somehow, all of us ended up in this little group we affectionately called the Goof Troop.
There was Patty, Jose, Me, Jaime, Jake, Tim, Chris (aka Elvis) and a few others. Over the years, some newbies came and others left, and we built what I now call my second family.
We did everything and went everywhere together. Hanging out, cooking out, playing cards; holiday parties, swimming. They were my friends when I needed friends most, having just gotten out of a really bad relationship. They supplied jokes and hugs, loved me despite my insecurities, and even when we got on each other's nerves, for the first time I really had this structure where yes, we may be upset with each other, but no, they weren't going to walk away and let me fend for myself. They were there to stay, and that was a feeling that made this group more than just friends. (The story continues below, but these pictures should amuse you on your scroll down. Vintage Allie, lol).
I've already talked many times about Patty, but today, I want to tell you a little bit about my friend Jake. Jake is one of our best friends (my husband and I). He is, without a doubt, a person that I could call if I needed something and he'd be there to help in seconds without hesitation. I know that I can count on him if we ever need it. He was - aside from our immediate family - the first visitor to show up within an hour of each of my kids being born, to meet them and hold them. I'll never, ever forget that. Here he is, holding this newborn like he's a pro, when most guys our age were backing away and pretending not to notice those contagious babies, lol. And they still hug and crawl all over him, because they adore Uncle Jake!
He's there at every birthday, holiday and weekend cookout. He's polite, sweet and has one of the biggest hearts I've ever encountered. He makes us laugh, and we spend alot of time with him because he just makes every time you're with him fun.
I admire his willpower and strength, because over a year ago, he started a journey to be more healthy, and he has kept at it, losing over 100 pounds. I struggle to lose 10! He's amazing, and he's really worked hard, and keeps tacking on more fun activities like MMA and such to keep his workouts different. I really, really admire him for how hard he's worked.
And then there's his big heart, like how he gives me thank you cards on occasion. Actual paper cards, in an envelope, with handwriting - something we don't do alot of today! Today, I printed out a picture for him of he and Jaime at the Pearl Jam concert. He came back later with a thank you card, and a gift to help send me to San Diego to see our other friend, Patty, when she has her baby, because he knew I was worried about finances. (I'm still not taking your gift Jake, but seriously, I will totally bask in the sweetness of having you as a friend!) I have cried like five times tonight just thinking about how great of a friend I have. The part that touches my heart is just the thought behind it all - that he knows how much I miss my friend.
It's moments like these - and people like Jake - that I have in my life that constantly remind me that yes, the dryer might be broken and yes there may be a leak, but those are such small things when, at the end of the day, I have this group of friends that so many people will spend their whole lives only wishing they had. My mom had her group of 8 girlfriends, known as the Breakfast Club for their Friday morning breakfast ritual, that I used to hope I'd have a group like someday. I do, but mine just includes a few really great guys, too. And in the end, it won't be the dryers or repairs or cars or houses or any of that material stuff that I remember and that I love - it's the friends I have like Jake, Patty, Jose, Joel and so many others that I'll be laughing with and sipping margaritas with, and loving every second of their company. That's what life is made of - the people and the joy they bring to your hearts.
If you need a friend, I can point you in the right direction ;)
Love ya Jake!!