Choosing Kindness Over Walking Away
Are you girls listening to our podcasts? If not, check out the episode where Paula sings (well, tries to) a verse from Rod Stewart’s song “Passion”. I am very familiar with his music and trying to decipher what she was singing was pretty funny. Take a listen and tell me what you think.
So let’s talk about passion since Paula brought it up. In particular, passion when it refers to friendship. I think it’s important to know what kind of friend you are, what kind you are not, and what your girlfriends are or are not.
I am, without a doubt, very passionate about many things in life. Not passionate in a romantic way, although Pete probably wishes that I was, but rather passionate in that I put my everything into most aspects in my life. My girlfriendships® are a great example.
If you are a seasoned My Girlfriendships® blog reader, then you may have caught on to this attribute about me. I’ve spoken about it a lot even though it may have been disguised as a different trait. Passion is precisely why I have lost friends in the past. In my case, it always seems to be too much. Dang it!
Without a doubt my friend, JoAnn (JoJo), is a passionate one as well. She pours out her heart in everything she does. It’s very comforting to have a friend who understands me, operates on the same wavelength, and lives her life as passionately as I do.
So Here’s How I Met JoJo
On August 24th (my birthday) 2017, Kole started college at a small private school here in Minnesota. He’s the kind of kid who wanted a smaller campus within driving distance to home. This college was perfect for him.
It was hot that day. Yes, even though we live in the quintessential frozen tundra, it still gets hot in the summer. So, on move-in day it was one of those scorchers. 90° and 90% humidity. Can you imagine my hair?!
Actually my curly hair has its good days in the summer. This wasn’t one of them. I had to put it up in a clip to stay cool while helping move Kole into his first ever dorm room.
We went there early in the morning, and as we pulled up there were different groups of “helpers” to unload our truck and take it to the designated room. Most of them were students from the sports teams who volunteered to help new students unload. We were super grateful to have the help.
Pete and I did this just a few years prior with Lex, so it was a simple process. Everything was moved in. Kole was organizing. Pete was constructing what needed to be assembled. I ran to Bed Bath and Beyond® to pick up the bed essentials I ordered.
By the end of the day, I was fatigued. The heat, the going up and down stairs, the stimulation from so many people—I was ready to go home and celebrate my birthday.
Pete and I decided to go to dinner. It was perfect timing because Kole had to be at a freshman social function on the lawn in front of his dorm. We said goodbye, watched him walk to the lawn, and started walking to the parking lot.
Parents were all around with their cars and trucks unloading their kids. Most of them were saying goodbye like we did and waving as they watched them walk over to the lawn.
As we passed this awesome big, black, GMC Denali pick-up truck, a woman came around the side of it, looked at Pete in amazement and said, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW! Are you Pete Najarian?”
Pete stopped and said, “Well, yes, I think I am. Nice to meet you.”
She said, “WOW! I watch your show everyday. Thank you so much for your great advice.”
Just then, her husband and eldest son come over to say hi and shake hands.
I am stuck. I am hot. I am tired. I am hungry and IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
This situation happens more often than not. Someone recognizes Pete. He stops with a smile and shakes hands to give appreciation to his fans for a moment. He is very humble and very kind.
I, on the other hand, am questionable. Don’t get me wrong. I think the people who watch his shows (CNBC Halftime Report and Fast Money) are genuinely in love with him. They revere his advice on financial decisions. I am just not always up for small talk. He thinks of it differently and that’s why he is so loved.
So here I am, as I said, stuck. Do I stay here and introduce myself and play the good wife, or do I continue to the truck and sit and wait for him to get there so we can finally drive home? This is definitely a first-world problem so I decide to snap out of it and stop to be kind.
“Hi, I’m Lisa Najarian. I’m Pete’s wife.”
“Hi I’m JoAnn, nice to meet you. We watch Pete all the time and just love him.”
Let me back track for a second. When JoJo said, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?” she said it in a high-pitched voice with a lot of excitement. I have a high-pitched voice too, and sometimes I wonder how it sounds when I get excited. Now I know. Truth be told, my thoughts were, “OMG who is this woman? She’s gonna talk my ear off! I wish I had as much energy as her right now.” Her voice said it all.
Remember, I chose to be kind so that’s what I went with: kind.
As we continued to chat, I mentioned it was my birthday. I typically tell anyone who will listen when it’s my birthday. She, of course, wished me a happy birthday. We talked about our sons being freshmen and which dorms they were in. Her son was one floor above Kole. We discussed that we should have them meet each other.
I started to like her the more we talked. She’s a smiler and I loved that. I felt really warm (inside) talking with her. She was clearly the passionate type and that resonated with me. We exchanged phone numbers. Pete and I then made our way home to my birthday dinner.
On our walk back to our truck, I mentioned how it never fails—there is always someone who recognizes him and stops to talk. And wow, that was a sick truck that they had!
When we got on the road, he said JoAnn’s husband, Ed, was really nice and their son, Tyler, who played football, was a great kid.
Only One Week Had Passed
I got a call from Kole saying that he was homesick. He said that many of the guys in his dorm were going to a nearby field to get high and he had no interest. He was having a difficult time identifying with anyone because he wasn’t a partier and had no interest in getting high with the guys around him. He was uncomfortable.
I texted JoJo to see how her son, Tanner, was doing. I think she was surprised to hear from me. I told her the story about Kole and she said her son said the exact same thing to her. She said it was so sad that he didn’t have anyone to identify with during this difficult time as a college freshman. Our hearts sunk. She and I both agreed that they needed to be friends, and we gave both of our sons each other’s contact info. They have been friends ever since.
After that first phone conversation, JoJo and I have been friends ever since as well. In fact, we say all of the time, “how have we lived without one another for so long?”
Here are some other examples of JoJo’s passionate side. (I have so many examples, but I will just give you a few that stand out to me.)
I just received a box in the mail from her with a cookbook for our new beach home. It’s a Tommy Bahama® , Southern Florida cookbook. I love Tommy Bahama stuff, and our beach house is in southern Florida—perfect! Also in this box was a thermal coffee tumbler that says, “I’m not a princess that needs to be saved. I’m a queen that gets sh*t done”. (It actually spells out the word, but I’m trying to be mindful of profanity.) On the box, she wrote, “When renovations start on your home, make sure you are drinking from this cup.” Then there’s the cutest sweater that says “Sun Sand and Sea”, from a company where I already own two of their sweaters. Lastly, she included a journal with these words imprinted:
You can find this journal here.
I wish I would have sent her this journal before she sent it to me. She beat me to it. It’s absolutely perfect! It made me cry to think that you made this effort to find the most compassionate words….Thanks Jo, I love you.
Another example of her passion is the cabin that she built. Of course, the builders built it, but she completely orchestrated the entire project. And when I say completely, I mean from the first inception in her mind, until the last day when not a single worker came through her door. It’s their second home in the woods and her family couldn’t be more thankful for her skill and adoration for creating. I am hoping to do the same down in Florida with our new home.
Finally, I will bullet point some of passionate ways in her life that mirror mine:
- She loves to cook
- She loves to take care of her husband, kids, and others around her
- She loves to decorate and create a welcoming atmosphere in her home
- She adores animals and watching the wildlife roam her yard
- She keeps a very clean home
- She welcomes guests into her home and treats them like royalty
- She loves driving a truck
- She loves the sunshine
Like I said, I could go on forever. The point I am trying to make is that JoJo and I met one day and have been besties ever since. We are passionate souls about everything we do and as girlfriends, that makes for an amazing friendship. She has treated me like a queen and I hope she can say the same about me and how I’ve treated her. Remember how I have pounded the table on reciprocation. Well she is the poster child for reciprocation. I appreciate her so much and am so thankful to call her my friend.
We celebrate two special events on August 24th each year. My birthday and our friendaversary. I’m glad I stopped on that hot August birthday day to be kind. Love you JoJo!
Lisa A.K.A Loopie