I was reading a eulogy the other day about a woman I didn’t know. After the eulogy there were many nice comments from people who did know her. I noticed people talking about how kind she was and how she didn’t have any enemies. They said she was generous and loving and would be missed. By just reading the comments, I felt like this woman must have been a saint. She seemed perfect. Nobody talked about any of her faults, which I’m sure she had, but it wasn’t the time or place to share those. This was a celebration of the good in her life.
I also watched the movie The Fault In Our Stars over the weekend. Spoiler Alert…when Gus does a mock up of his funeral because he wants to be there to experience it, Hazel and Isaac read their eulogies to him. I love that they tell him how much he means to them while he is still alive. What a special thing to hear. To see the emotion behind how much he was loved and would be missed brought tears to my eyes.
I woke up this morning thinking about that. About how we are quick to speak well of the dead. About how 15 years after she died, I wrote a post about my Aunt Barbara and how much she meant to me and many others. I feel the need to do better. To do the living justice.
And that brings me to Candied Jansen. Of course I’ll start with her. She is, after all, one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. So many things make her amazing, but her thoughtfulness and generosity astound me. I’ve truly never known someone so perfect at gift giving and thoughtful gestures as she is. For Valentine’s Day, she gave me a necklace and ring that hold special significance. I love them. But, while they were such sweet gifts, what she gave me next blew me away. She knew I was stressed about the state test we give to the 4th graders at school every spring. She saw me worry over their chances of passing. She saw me struggle with the whole idea of continuing a career in education. So she got this for me.
Personalized M&Ms in my school colors, maroon and white. Then, because you can’t add print to the maroon ones, she picked a second color, purple, to go with them. Purple is one of the colors of the college where our school campus is located. Amazing! To think about adding a color with significance…wow! When I brought them to school to show the other teachers, I had several say they needed to find a girlfriend! I told them that not all girlfriends were created equal! I’d had a few and Candied Jansen far outshines them all!
And then yesterday…once again…I was blown away by her thoughtfulness. We are planning a trip for Spring Break. My youngest two kids will be going with us, but my oldest two will be staying at home. They are adults and have responsibilities and would prefer to stay home. While going over some of the budget plans for the week, Candied Jansen told me that she had a Spring Break Envelope for each kid staying here. She’d included movie passes, concession stand gift cards, gas cards, money for a dinner out as well as a couple of coupons to some local eateries. What?? For my kids?? I had only planned to make sure there was a little food in the house so they didn’t starve, but she just gave them their own mini spring break fun pack! Such a wonderful idea! So perfectly perfect!
You know, I’ve never been one to compare myself to my girlfriends . I’ve never thought I was better than them or that they were better than me. Until now. She is so much better than me! I can’t get over how lucky I am!
And so I say this about Candied Jansen…
When Candied Jansen and I first started our email relationship, I admired her words. I assumed she was being honest and I loved that she just told it like it was. I loved that she was not afraid to type until she felt like she’d said enough. Those were some lengthy emails! After a couple of weeks of long emails back and forth, we ended up just being Facebook friends. I saw her stuff on occasion and she saw mine. Then on January 25, 2014, she did what she is so good at doing. She reached out and told me exactly what she thought about me, and those thoughts culminated with her asking me to dinner. The very first time I met her in person, she flirted with a couple at the bar, and they ate it up. Our waiter came back to our table over and over, more times than necessary, because he was so enamored with her. I sat back and observed. I loved watching her be her. She was so good at it. So natural! Over the days and weeks that I spent falling in love with her, I came to know that she was my perfect match. The qualities she exhibited were so important to me. She is kind and loving and good. She is constantly thinking about how she can serve others in some form or fashion. She loves to shake her ass on the dance floor and watch movies back to back. She is friendly and flirty and rarely meets a stranger. She is an extroverted introvert who greets waiters by name and draws people to her. When I leave her presence, I feel refreshed and hopeful. I know there are a few people who aren’t big fans of hers, but I believe it is only because they messed up and now they know what they’re missing! I love her. I am so thankful for her. I hope to be able to show her how special she is and how much she means to me for the rest of my life!