2024 Love List
Andrew Carlson & Riku Nozaki, Madison, 7 years
Andrea & Genia Stevens, Beloit, 15 years
Melanie Jones (she/her) & Christen Lester-Jones (she/her), Madison, 11.5 years
Nick & Reegan Jensen-Shafer, La Crosse, 17 years
Lynn Mayer & Gigi Vail, Madison, 5.5 years
Most people know me as a strong, assertive, and confident woman. What they don’t know is that I’m all those things because of Andrea’s support. She knows me so well that she can sense when I’m struggling, and she immediately knows what I need. It’s kind of frustrating at times for someone as independent as I am. I’ve had to learn to accept that someone loves me and wants to take care of me. We take care of each other.
Whenever Andrea gets frustrated about something at work, she calls me because she wants to know “what would Genia do?” And I tell her—although I don’t expect her to do it because I’m far more assertive and outspoken than she is. Usually she just needs me to talk her off the proverbial cliff. I call Andrea at least a dozen times during my workday. I usually start the conversation with “Girrrrl! You ain’t never gonna believe . . .” And then we laugh and laugh and laugh. Andrea is my favorite person to spill the tea with.
No matter how many times we talk during the day on the phone, we always meet at the kitchen table at the end of the day. I made that a tradition about nine years ago when I noticed we were spending too much time on our phones or sitting in front of the TV, and we weren’t connecting the way we used to. I insisted on us always eating dinner together, at the kitchen table, not on the sofa in front of the TV. Oftentimes, we both get home from work pretty late. It doesn’t matter though. No matter what time we arrive home, one of us is waiting for the other one so we can talk—again—about our day.
Every relationship has its challenges, even ours. Sometimes we talk more than we listen. That can lead to some serious misunderstandings at times. What saves us is that we love laughing together. It never fails. Within an hour of a disagreement, one of us sends the other one a funny video we found on Facebook or TikTok. Laughter is our saving grace. Andrea is that best friend you can’t sit next to at a serious event because you know, at some point, one of you will say something you shouldn’t.