My Best Friend

The first time I heard of Jenna Lathrop was when she applied to the Asotin School District. My school was hiring a preschool teacher at the time and as the kindergarten teacher I was on the hiring committee. Everyone on the committee kept talking about Jenna and I’d get kind of snarky and say, “Who is Jenna?” and they’d all respond, “Jenna Brott!” like that was supposed to clear all questions in my head. You see Asotin is a tiny little community so everyone knows grandpa Joe’s cousins’ sister who’s been twice removed but married the preacher’s son so she was accepted back into the church. You get my point. Anyway, Jenna graduated from Asotin and her mother is one of the administrative assistants in the high school. So everyone knew who Jenna Brott (Lathrop) was, except this Lewiston gal. To explain my snarkiness just a bit more my good friend, who I went through the teacher education program with at LCSC, was also trying to get a job in Asotin so she had applied for the preschool job. Obviously I was pulling for my friend.

So the day of the interviews came and Jenna was the last one we interviewed. The minute she walked into the room I understood what all the fuss was about. Jenna was cool and confident with a huge smile and a contagious laugh. She was charming, sweet, sincere and I instantly adored her. She radiated preschool teacher and it was a unanimous decision.

So the next year I worked with Jenna fairly closely as the preschool was the feeder program into my half-day kindergarten program. She had so many good ideas and was great for advice when I needed help with a difficult student or even a good teacher hack. Jenna’s positive attitude just drew me to her and she was so easy to talk to that I found myself wondering down to her classroom more and more.

Then my grandma passed away. I was heartbroken. One morning, sometime after, I came to school and Jenna had a gift for me. It was a rustic decor sign that said “FAMILY” with a bright red letter “L” tied to it (my grandma’s name was Linda.) My eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t believe her thoughtfulness and kindness. I think it was then that I began to see Jenna more than just a colleague I enjoyed working with, she was my friend.

As fate would have it Asotin Elementary transitioned to full day kindergarten, adding a second section and blessing me with a teaching partner. Jenna moved right into kindergarten with me and the beginning of a beautiful partnership began.

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Throughout the last 3 years team teaching together Jenna and I have become best friends. She is one of the most cherished people in my life. God knew I needed her in my life. A bond with another female that was very much like me is one big thing my life was lacking. We are so much alike that we’ve even been accused of being twins and some days that is more true than others.

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She is a true gem. Here are 10 reasons why Jenna Lathrop is my best friend, and always will be.

One. She is fun.

Jenna has this energy about her and you can’t help but laugh a lot when you’re around her. But she is also so fun! She’s always coming up with ideas for the classroom to make it more fun and she comes up with creative ways to be a fun mom for her own kids, too. For Halloween we dressed up as Koo Koo Kangaroo because we knew that it’d be bring FUN to our classrooms!

Two. She has a huge heart.

Jenna loves with so much of her heart that it spills over out of her eyes. I’ve seen her cry because she loves her students so much. She’s cried with me when I’ve had tough stuff going on in my life. Her mama heart has cried for her kids. I think the most caring, genuine people you’ll ever meet are criers.

Three. She’s really pretty.

Call me shallow but I like good looking people! Jenna is a beautiful woman. But to be fair, she’s beautiful on the inside, too. Which is even more important.

Four. Jenna motivates me.

This girl is a goal-setter! She’s organized and driven and I strive to be like her. She sets goals for herself every month. She paints the walls and keeps up a garden. She’s clean and keeps all things organized. (A little type A this one.) She cooks and crafts and nurtures the heck out of her family. But she also takes time for herself and reads and blogs and makes quiet time for Jesus. She’s got it all figured out. I wanna be just like Jenna when I grow up.

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Five. She has strong values.

Jenna and I have a lot of the same values and I think that’s why we are so close. We have so much in common it’s crazy (in fact that’s reason #6 so hang tight for that one.) She values God and family. She values doing the right thing and being honest. She values gratitude and a positive attitude. She values trust and time. She values the small things and it doesn’t take much to make her extremely happy. Jenna and I are on the same page so much when it comes to living a good life.

Six. We have so much in common.

I mentioned this before but I believe with all my heart that God knew we needed each other. Women need other women in their lives that are like them. We are so much alike! We both are passionate about teaching. We both have 2 kids that are about 3 years apart and in grade school. We both have country boy husbands. We are both homebodies. We both grew up in small towns. We have similar family dynamics. We have many of the same struggles and joys and simple pleasures. We are both nerds. Gosh, I could go on and on.

Seven. She is thoughtful.

Jenna is always thinking of others. She gives really good gifts because she puts thought into them. She does small things for other people just to cheer them up or make their day a little brighter.

Eight. Jenna is an incredible teacher.

I’m not exaggerating. She is one of the best teachers I know. She puts her heart into it. She cares for EVERY kid in her classroom. She just pours herself into those kids. She keeps their learning at the forefront and finds little opportunities to enhance their understandings all of the time. She sings and dances and makes learning fun. She holds students accountable in a caring way. She puts a purpose to every minute of student time. I get so many great ideas from her. She inspires me and makes me a better teacher.

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Nine. She is uplifting.

The little saying, “Look on the bright side”…Jenna is the bright side! She’s human and has bad days just like me or anyone else but she strives to find the positive in every situation. Her grateful heart finds perspective when life is being…life. I can take my worries or stresses to Jenna and she always makes me feel better. She knows the right thing to say and I respect her opinion so much.

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Ten. She’s selfless.

When I told Jenna I needed to leave Asotin, she understood. She never EVER questioned my reasons or asked me to stay. You see I live across the river from the small town we teach in and that river is a state border. State borders come with regulations and my kids can not attend Asotin Elementary unless Nathan and I pay the $6,500 yearly out-of-state tuition. For a public school?? Yikes. So my kids have to be in the Lewiston School District and I need to be near them. And on their schedule. Which means leaving Asotin Elementary. Leaving Jenna. And she’s letting me go. She’s not only letting me, she’s encouraging me and excited for me. Selfless. She just thinks of others. She is always loving on others. I can’t thank her enough.

Jenna, you are my only blog follower so I know you’re reading this. Hear this: we will ALWAYS be best friends. It’s called monthly walks and coffee days, snap chat and play dates with our kids. I know this is really old fashioned but we will even talk on the phone and I don’t mean text. It’s going to be hard not seeing you everyday. Especially when I a calm to my morning anxiety. But the Universe brought us together for a reason and you’re a friend for life. I love you.

Love,
Tara

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