Here are just a few memories of times Jen stood by me with her incredible charm, grace and friendship:
On the first day of fourth grade I was the new girl from Hawaii, not a friend in sight. Jen sauntered up, started talking, and sat with me at story time. From there it was sleepovers, soccer practices, and endless phone calls. Jen was the first to get caller ID. She was my first friend here, and we remained friends, all those years, even when Jen led the band and played lacrosse, and I was playing field hockey and soccer in high school.
Our senior year, we got acceptance letters from UVA on the same day. I don’t remember who called who, but we counted to three and blurted out that we’d gotten in. Jen had made her parents read hers to her but hadn’t notice that they had opened the letter, read it, and resealed it, only to open it and read it to her later. It was one of the few times Jen’s quick eye missed such a detail. Normally these tricks would have been spotted like a big red sale sign at Loehmann’s.
When I got married 2 years ago, Jen and the other Lindseys were my bridal attendants. I now understand how lucky I was, having my 3 best friends in the world by my side on that day. When Mike and I moved to California, Jen was the first to visit us in Monterey. We watched whales, stayed up talking, ate wonderful dinners, and Monterey felt like home. Last year when I was pregnant, Jen sent thoughtful gifts including tiny, adorable booties for the baby to wear home.
Jen’s most important gift of friendship came when she blessed our baby with her name. Audrey Jennifer Herlands was not named to be a reminder of Jen. Mike and I hope instead that we can share with Audrey, and teach her to strive for, the passion with which Jen lived life, the energy she brought to any situation and the love she spread so wide and so deep.
This is how Jenny will stand by me through the future.