According to Wikipedia, “Jennifer was the single most popular name for newborn American girls every single year from 1970 to 1984.”
Well that explains a lot.
If I start typing in the name Jennifer into my phone, six ladies named Jennifer will pop up immediately. Of these six, I text or talk with four of them on a very regular basis.
I got flowers twice this year, both of them with a card signed by Jennifer. I had to text around to see which one sent them to me. That’s a cool problem to have.
That’s the kind of thing that happens when you’ve found Your People. And today I would like to introduce you to my dear friend, Jennifer Martinez. Feel free to call her Martinez like I do, since the Jennifers are too many to number.
How we met: I bought some teacher books off a lady who’d placed an ad on Craigslist. It would be at least several months until we saw each other again, when we were both taking a class and realized we worked at the same district. And wouldn’t you know it…about a year later, that Jennifer lady moved to my building and started teaching around the corner from me, which is when I realized she was also the Craigslist bookseller lady! Full circle. We found ourselves in many of the same endless meetings each month, agreeing with each other’s ideas regarding teaching. A lot. And that’s how it started.
Talking after meetings turned into lamenting about the things that make our jobs so difficult. Those conversations led to monthly dinners with more of the same mixed in with serious discussions about life, love, God, and fonts. (Deep waters, people). These regular interactions made room for lots of laughter and inside jokes and eventually turned into talking and/or texting every day, especially when she left our building to become her own boss and follow a new kind of dream career. And just like that, without even much conscious effort, Martinez had become My People.
Later on, life took some sharp turns for us both here and there. That’s when stuff gets real, friends. When the sunny everyday of life turns into mostly grey with a side of dark and stormy, you find out quickly who is going to be standing in the rain with you. This girl never wavered. When I refused to hear truth, she spoke it to me anyway. It was just what I needed, and she knew it better than I did.
Some other things you need to know about this chick: She is über creative. Her new career I mentioned? She creates original, awesome teacher resources that are seriously useful and equally lovely. She sells these resources and gives experienced teacher advice through her company, Everything Just So. And let me tell ya, she really likes things JUST so. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title for her endeavors! Oh and yeah… she did this little thing where she was only one of two teachers selected from the state of Ohio for a national collaboration called The Master Teacher Project! She put in countless hours to develop practical, engaging lessons that can be used by teachers all over the nation to help their students. She’s a real-life superhero with a cute purse, people.
Martinez knows of all the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants, has gorgeous hair at all times, and loves that pretty light teal color, whatever it’s called. We share a love of cilantro sauce, Papyrus stationery, fonts by Kimberly Geswein, and Jesus (probably not in that order.)
When I tried to narrow down exactly what it is I love about our friendship, it turned out the be the exact same thing she was thinking. When I asked her what would be one thing she would want to say about our relationship, Martinez said “Above all else, it’s real. I can be myself with you without fear of judgement and I can tell you anything without fear of it traveling elsewhere. I know what I see is what I get – no pretense, no false motives, just honest care from someone who understands the meaning of friendship and lives it. You’re there when things are pretty, but even more so when life is dirty and messy.”
I would like to eloquently respond with a big, fat DITTO to all of that.
And that’s the stuff, friends. When you get the vibe that there is real going on whenever you’re with someone, then BANGO! You know you’ve found Your People.
Martinez is one of My People, and I am afraid she’s stuck with me. (Sorry, girl!) I appreciate her friendship more than she will probably ever know. I pray that each of you can find a Martinez in your life and somehow convince her to stick around forever and ever.
Join me tomorrow for Day 3 of 31 Days of My People!