Jessica Marie Ghrist Tonkovich (36 today)
Today is my cousin Jessica's birthday! Jessica and I are what's known as "double cousins" because her dad and my dad are brothers, and her mom and my mom are sisters. :)
I spent many hours with my cousins (Jessica is now 36, her sister Mary will be 35 on Thursday, and then Megan is 25 I believe-- I could be wrong on that one), as our moms were very close. From as early as I can remember all the way until high school, I was super close with Jessica and Mary. I have so many fun memories with them!! Here are some pictures of Jess and her sisters and some of us other cousins through the years:
Me (L), Mary, Jessica and Brandon (R)
Brandon (L), Jessica, Scott, Me, and Mary (R)
Back (Scott and Dave) Bottom: Tony (L), Mary, Brandon, Corey, Grandma Burney, Jessica, and Me (R)
(Front- Corey, Derek, Tony) Then Scott, Jessica, Brandon, Grandma Burney, Mary, Dave, Me, Baby Megan and Fr. Joe
Mary (L) and Jessica (R)
(L) Mary, baby Megan, Jessica (R)
Jess & Mary at Disney World with us (I'm guessing 1989)
Jess and Megan
LOL Mary, Meg, and Jessica
(L) Mary, Megan and Jessica (R)
Mary, Megan, Aunt Mary, and Jessica
Jessica, Megan and Mary
Some of my favorite memories with Jessica include our trip up north camping... it was her family and my family all crammed together into our little camper. I remember nights of giggle-fits and my dad yelling at us to be quiet... then someone throwing a button or coin at someone and it making a TON of noise while the adults were trying to sleep. Oh the joys!!
That same trip... I remember meeting boys... :) and then either Jessica or Mary calling one of their friends from a payphone and asking them to drive up north to pick them up (we were at least eight hours from home). I was amazed that they had friends with cars, and that would be willing to drive eight hours to pick them up.
I remember our trip to Florida and staying at our Aunt Ellene and Uncle Bob's modular home. Oh what memories come from that trip!!! We went to Disney World together and had a blast... and had so much fun driving my aunt crazy. We were boy-crazy middle schoolers... (Jessica might have officially started high school... but I think we were all in Jr. High).
I'm going crazy right now because I know I have a ton of pictures from these vacations and I can't find them on my computer!!! Grrrr....
Anyway-- our moms had a falling out and it was what it was, it's in the past, but it caused us (me and Jess and Mary) to drift apart. We all finished high school and had gone to different colleges and lost touch. I still loved her, but didn't see her.
We then went to her wedding... October 2004 (I think 2004) to Mike.
I think I said hi at her wedding, but we didn't really talk a lot. Then more time went by without seeing her... but here's a picture of her with Mary and Megan... <3
(L) Megan, Mary and Jessica (R)
Then... out of the blue she messaged me on Facebook on May 3rd, 2010. She said that she had news for me and asked me to call her. When I did, she told me about her coworker Sharon, and Gus. We didn't know Gus was a Gus at the time... and didn't know if any of it would come to be for us... but she shared that she told Sharon about our profile and Sharon shared it with P and C. The rest is history!!
We reunited when she met Gus for the first time and it was amazing!!
How can I put words to how much she means to me? I can't. She was brought back into my life through Gus, and not only did I get the most precious gift of being a mom, but I got the gift of having a chance to re-establish a connection with her.
She's like a bright shiny sun, on a gloomy day. When you desperately need to feel cooled off because you're so hot, she's like the ice-cold AC that makes you say, "Ahhhhhh..." She's an phenomenal daughter, a spectacular sister, an incredible wife, and the most amazing mother.
Mike and Jessica
Jessica and Mike
Her gorgeous family
Jessica and I tried to get together while I was in MI with Gus several times. Each time we tried, it just didn't happen that we could just be together to just talk and catch up.
Jess and Sharon with Gus
Jessica is Gus's God Mother. This was taken at his Baptism (May 22, 2010)
Jess and Scott (God Parents)
Jess and Sharon with Gus
Jess and her daughter B after the Baptism
Jess, Gus, and my dad
With her God son :D
A dinner together in June of 2010
Our visit to MI in February of 2011
Gus's Finalization Day-- Dinner at Outback (April 15, 2011)
FINALLY we got the chance to spend time together when she came to NC to visit some friends over Memorial Day weekend. I got to pick her up from RDU and then we had all afternoon... and evening to catch up. AND BOY DID WE EVER!!! We stayed up laughing, talking, and just truly enjoying each other's company until 3:45am!!! She had to leave the next morning to visit other friends, but it was such a great visit!!!
May 27, 2011
Last picture together-- May 28, 2011
So... this is dedicated to my most very special cousin Jessica. I never had a sister growing up, and she and Mary are the closest I've ever had to sisters... I love her so very much, and I am so very very thankful to have had the chance to reconnect with her and God brought us back together through Gus!!