Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The one about Jaryn

The year was 2011.
I needed a job and my friend Grace was aware of this.

I received a call from Grace and she said, “How do you feel about Tallahassee?” I responded, “I’ve never been there and I know no one. Sounds great.”

Grace told me about her friend Jaryn who worked for Governor Bush and his education foundation. On a recent cruise for Jaryn’s 30th birthday, they were talking about work and Jaryn mentioned to Grace about needing someone to do social media. Grace said, “I have someone in mind.”

On September 19, I was driving to have dinner with my mom for her birthday when Jaryn and I talked on the phone and she made the official offer. Three weeks later I would fly to San Francisco for the foundation’s annual summit, meet Jaryn for {what I thought was} the first time, and then moved to Florida on October 16.

I landed in California late in the evening, got to my hotel, and planned to find all my new coworkers the next morning. I showed up bright and early to the ‘war room’ and saw Jaryn. Immediately, I recognized her. I said, “This is weird…..but we’ve met before, haven’t we?”

In October 2010, Jaryn and I both attended a wedding (remember my year of 60 weddings?) for our friend Gari-Anne and Brandon. I was the wedding singer; Jaryn and her sister were the wedding coordinators. We even sat at the same table at the rehearsal dinner.

As the national summit was kicking off soon, we didn’t have much time to chat, but my mind was already blown having learned this. Small. World.

A week later, I arrived in Tallahassee ready to work on the communications team for ExcelinEd. Jaryn was my boss. The first year at the Foundation was far beyond anything I could have ever imagined for myself. The team was incredibly kind; they were welcoming and understanding. That first week in town, Jaryn invited me to watch the Rangers in the WORLD SERIES with her family (who were a little wary of me being that the Rangers had beat out their team—the Yankees—to make it to the World Series).

August 2012 would lead me to one of the best weeks of my professional career and Jaryn was at that table. We arrived in Tampa for the 2012 Republican National Convention where Jaryn was working her tail off, and I was just along for the ride. Literally. I showed up because I was bringing the car Governor Bush would use for this time at the convention. And then I needed to drive it back. So I made myself useful for the time there. Getting food for people, running errands, heading to the mall to find a shirt for Governor to wear while on TV since the one he had was the wrong color. I stayed out of the way and watched Jaryn face roadblock after roadblock all while keeping her cool that week.

November of that same year would bring tragedy to my home and Jaryn opened her home to me. After my apartment fire, I lived with Jaryn for the next 50 days while I collected my sparse bearings and decided what would be next. Prior to the fire, I’d been talking about moving to DC to work from our extension office. Jaryn had mentioned always wanting to get up to DC but had never been able to make the transition. I told her to come along. I’d most likely need a roommate since prices were so expensive. She considered it….(and took a REALLY long time to commit) but eventually decided that a move to DC would be a challenge she’d accept. I told her to be prepared as anyone who becomes my roommate will undoubtedly get married within a year. She said "Not gonna happen."

So yes. The next season of life would be in DC… living with my boss. I know most people were horrified or aghast at the idea of this, but year one—it definitely worked. Jaryn split her time between DC and Florida and was in town two weeks and away two weeks. Because I’d met Jaryn through a good friend of mine, it never felt like “Boss Jaryn” – rather “Friend Jaryn who happens to love some of the same people I love.”

After our first year of being roommates, the time came when we had to decide, “Do we keep this up? Do we sign for another year? What are we doing in DC? How is this our life?” HAlso. She didn't get married. Ha. 

We agreed to another year.

When the third year came, it was a no brainer. Life at The Row was good. Our apartment worked. We knew our places. Our schedules fit. I’ll admit, the work/boss portion was becoming harder, but we decided we could do another year.

Towards the end of the year, I knew living with my boss was no longer an option. We’d had a ton of transition at work, our plates were full, and I needed some space. I told her as much and she was willing to make whatever changes we needed. One of those changes needed to be finding a cheaper place to live.

We spent a weekend on the campaign trail in New Hampshire (JEB!) and I came home to find what would be ‘the place that didn’t exist.’ Seriously. The house was the very place I’d prayed for, but never spoke out loud because I knew people would laugh at my outlandish ‘wants.’ The things I wanted in a place, in the location I wanted, for the price I wanted---- it didn’t exist. Until it did. At this point, I told Jaryn--- let’s do it. Life is HARD right now- but I’m looking for a new job, and we can do this.

We moved into the new place at the end of February 2016, I had a new job by June, and Jaryn and I were roommates. Period. We were not coworkers. We were just roommates. That was an amazing feeling. When I came home that first week from my new job, Jaryn asked how my day was….BECAUSE SHE DID NOT ALREADY KNOW. For three years prior, I’d not had anyone ask my how my day was when I got home from work. I don’t think I realized how hard it was living with my boss until I wasn’t. But then it made the next year so incredibly sweet.

Through each year, Jaryn remained constant and loyal. Through my ups and downs of normal life the last 6 years, she has consistently been there every step of the way. So many things I would face, she could say “I’ve been there. What you are feeling is normal. It will get better.” She is my person to bounce political questions off of without fear of judgement, my person to be a sounding board for questions that arise when I read my bible, and the friend that lets me process the hard days--- to be fully me in the working things out. 

My professional career took off because of her. I’m thankful for her example, her guidance, wisdom, and her encouragement. Especially this last year, I am thankful I could come home after days of questioning myself, my skills, or my ability and know she would encourage, affirm, or remind me of my value to the team I was on.

Jaryn, I’m thankful you’re on my team and in my corner. Thanks for celebrating all the random holidays with me (National Guacamole day, Tequila day, Ice Cream day…to name a few), for enduring hours of Friends episodes, for letting me interrupt you when I’m sure you were doing important work saving the world to remind you that it was 3:12; thanks for late night airport pickups even though you knew I wouldn’t couldn’t reciprocate due to my early bedtime.  Thanks for helping me escape the city for Inauguration Day 2017, for letting me take my time in Costco instead of running in and out, and for not rubbing it in my face when the Cowboys lost.  AND. For volunteering to help me move out to Kalmazoo so I wouldn’t be alone my first weekend in an unfamiliar place. So incredibly grateful.

Being roommates with a person requires a level of sacrifice, compromise, and growth. You’ve made me a better person.


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