Lots of people change the trajectory of our lives – teachers, parents, children, bosses – but it’s rare we can focus on one moment where our lives are altered for the better because of someone else’s actions.
It’s not hard for me to remember how Morgan Miller changed my world in Jackson, Mississippi for the better. Five years ago, through a dinner invitation to a mexican restaurant, Morgan tied me to some of the most valuable, important friendships of my adult life. That night, with chips, salsa, huge mugs of beer and margaritas, I started to put together my own Jackson family. Today, Morgan and those friends are the reason that no matter where Tom and I are – Boston, Vermont (or in Tom’s case this week, South Africa) – we want to be back in JXN.
This weekend those friends will come together to celebrate the marriage of Morgan and Todd – two of the most important people in our Jackson lives. Maybe it’s because Tom is out of the country and I’ve communicated more with my dogs this week than human beings, but I’ve been particularly reflective on what Morgan and Todd have meant to us over the five years since that dinner at the mexican restaurant.
It’s not just because we can consistently count on Todd for a high quality magic trick, fancy napkin folding, or a quick, dry comment. Or because we know Morgan is always ready to provide yoga guidance, talk Gilmore Girls and tornados, or open up her endless supply of fingernail polish for you to try.
It’s not just because we can count on them to stand by our side during a session in the wedding photo booth. Or to make others laugh by appearing in unexpected places.
All of these quirky, endearing characteristics about them are things we treasure. Our lives, whether in Jackson or outside of it, have moved along in concert with their’s. When Morgan and Todd got their first dog, Copper, we weren’t too far behind with a pup of our own. Morgan and Todd’s leap into dog number two started the soft and incessant pressure I put on Tom that led to our own second dog. We have seen each other get married, move from place to place, start carriers, change carriers, and become semi-responsible adults.
Throughout all these changes, we’ve also looked to Morgan and Todd as another couple building a life together filled with love, compromises, and respect for one another’s individuality. Morgan and I are both married to native Mississippians. We came to Mississippi without deep roots and built community, lives, and careers more meaningful than I ever anticipated. I’ve found Morgan’s ability to adapt to and enjoy a world very different from her Philadelphia/Atlantic City roots quite remarkable. Her feeling of connection to Mississippi (and its stellar potential partners in Todd and Tom) affirmed my own sense of pull to the place and still does. It’s not that Morgan is my only friend that fuels these sense of commitment to the place, but she and Todd are certainly central to it.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to see two people we love build a life together. And sometimes we are lucky to be a part of it as it happens. I can’t wait to be back in Jackson and a more active part of the world Todd and Morgan are building together. But for now, I’ll settle for a weekend to celebrate them and all they have given to us.
Here’s to Morgan & Todd.