A few months ago Jen and I decided we needed nicknames.
We thought it was imperative that we have catchy, multi-syllabic names—the rest of our friends did, but she and I had short, regular names—i.e. boring ones.
We came up with a couple good ones for me –her favorite was K-Mac. But none of our brainstorming resulted in anything too catchy for Jen, and eventually she sighed and said we should use "Just Jen".
I bought into it, and most emails from then on were correspondence between K-Mac and Just Jen.
.......But you all know.... she wasn’t Just Jen; it never really fit.
She wasn’t Just Jen when.......she set a goal to raise $10,000 for brain tumor research at UVA-- but worked so hard it turned into over $30,000
And she wasn't "Just Jen" when she started dancing with a random Belize native on the streets of San Pedro-- or delivered a tasteful pole dance on the DC metro car in her hot pink dress one night—or came over so we could all test her new Carmen Electra Striptease Workout video at our apartment
She wasn't "Just Jen" when even at her sickest she would always remind her dad to watch his head when he walked her up her ramp
She wasn't "Just Jen" when any place we would go, inevitably 10 guys would ask for her number and "forget" that any of the rest of us were there
She wasn't "Just Jen" when she would find a way to make all of us feel like we were helping her in everyway possible, even if that was not always the case
She wasn't "Just Jen" when you needed a hiking/flag football/Frisbee or workout buddy and she was always ready
She wasn't "Just Jen" when she always supported her brother in everything he did, even if it wasn’t an interest of hers (such as Batman)
She wasn't "Just Jen" when her bathing suit top broke on Miami beach in front of a man wearing a shirt saying "tell Your Boobs To stop looking at me"-- and all she could do was laugh
She wasn't "Just Jen" when she transformed my grad school essays, or someone’s birthday card, or her always on time thank you cards, or a public speech, into a piece of writing that was moving, funny, very personalized and VERY grammatically correct
She wasn't "Just Jen" when she would drive out of her way 35 minutes to make sure that she always balanced her visits and love between her two grandmas
She wasn't "Just Jen" when she went to her first yoga class, and just couldn’t control herself when someone let one rip
She wasn't "Just Jen" when she came over for a dinner party, helped cook a gallon of French onion soup, and never mentioned she didn’t eat onions so that we wouldn’t have to change our plans
She wasn't "Just Jen" when, as her brother Brian said so perfectly: "she could never leave any situation where one person wasn’t happy—she just wouldn’t settle for anything less"
And that’s Just it, I guess. We thought about it, and we aren’t going to let her be Just Jen—it’s too lame a nickname for too incredible a person, a friend, a sister, and a daughter.