Shared by Jen Gibson & Natalie Mostellar
Natalie and I met seven and a half years ago, when our oldest daughters attended Welcome to Kindergarten together. You can read more about her first impression and how Eli sealed our fate together in her support story, which she wrote when SFTT launched.
From the start, we are an unexpected pair. Natalie is tall and striking whereas I am short and spunky. You can not miss Natalie when she walks into a room, while I often come across as her cute sidekick. She is serious and logical; I am goofy and comforting. We joke that I am the nice one, and she is the badass. We are truly Yin and Yang, and yet against these odds, we work. Over the years, we have strengthened our bond piece by piece—living by our code, our Friendship Code.
We’ve stuck by each other through the evolutions of our identities:
In 8 years of friendship, we have been through: Divorce. Child Loss. Crazy Boyfriend. Marriage Upheaval. Two relocations. Friendships Lost. Marriage Repaired. New Intimate Relationships. School. Job Changes. Starting an Organization. Natalie leaving that Organization.
We ground each other in what we have in common:
Family, Kindness, Love, Acts of Service, Respect, Laughter, Swearing, Integrity, Wine, Coffee, Unicorn, Llamas, and Ninjas verses Pirates.
Our conversations usually have some form of life coaching, whether that’s a therapy session or straight up “What the hell were you thinking?!” We have our own moral compasses for each other.
We respect each others’ beliefs. We don’t always agree with it, but we respect it. Instead, we make “Jesus & Star Lord” jokes. I [Natalie] say things like, “She loves Jesus, but we just forgive that.” And she [Jen] says things like, “She is a heathen, but it’s okay.” I believe that everything happens for a reason, while Jen believes God is behind it.
We don’t do drama. We do brutal honesty:
We have had two major fights: 1) about a damn doughnut and 2) one conversation of hearsay. Both fights lasted 45 minutes. We talk through and work that shit out.
We make each other laugh:
Natalie: I call her Jennifer just to piss her off, because she calls it swearing.
Jen: I say naive things or off-the-cuff remarks just to make her laugh
Natalie I have her childhood nickname in emojis for her name in my phone. Jen says that name will only be used as a security question if I’m kidnapped.
Jen: I affectionally call her asshole, but in my phone she is just labeled: Wife
We accept each other for our Introvert-verses-Extrovert tendencies:
Natalie: I remember saying to Jen the first time I met her, “Sometimes I wish you would just stop liking people so much.” But I accept her for who she is.
Jen: She hates people. Legit—like don’t talk to me, hide in the house, turn off the phone—hates people. She is weird. But I love her anyway.
Natalie: I like four people. She likes 400. Okay, fine, but at least forty.
Jen: It’s true, I make new best friends all the time.
Natalie: And yet, where are all those new best friends?!
We parent together:
Jen: The first book Natalie handed me was Love & Logic, and we have been on the same page with our parenting ever since.
Natalie: It helps that our kids are friends. We talk about what is going on with our kids and families, which makes it easier when we have each other’s kids. This open communication allows us to be aware of what is going on in their lives.
Jen: Natalie is the logical parent, and I’m the freak-out-the-world-is-going-to-end one.
Natalie: Jen says things like, “There are drugs at the middle school!” My response: “Duh, but pretty sure our girls are going to stay away from that…for a while.”
Looking back at our initial meeting and conversations, we didn’t know this was the path we would go on. We didn’t know we were choosing each other in this way, but we don’t regret for a second jumping into life together. We’ve laid the foundation and boundaries that work best for us to coexist, to have tons of fun, to raise our children together, and honestly we kind of wish more people were like us. Life sure feels lived to the fullest when you have at least one person who has your back—always.