Close Calls & Sugar Dolls

Posted On: 12.11.09

close call

I was three sentences into a different post this morning when my BlackBerry buzzed. I checked it. And there it was. The message I’ve been anticipating for three weeks now. Longer, actually. A message from my good friend. One whom some of you might remember. A friend who went through a very close call with pneumonia and swine flu at the tail end of her pregnancy. A friend who beat the odds and delivered a healthy baby boy, a mini miracle not long ago. I had not seen this friend in going on two months.

Her message: Come now. We are awaiting your arrival. Just pumped so we can catch up!

I saw these words and hit “save draft” and closed my computer. Rapidly, I tossed my things into my bag and ran outside. In the bitter cold, I threw up my arm and a taxi stopped. The ride was a blur of stoplights and green. We emerged from the park and before I knew it, I was there. At a place I knew. In a moment I knew would arrive.

I exchanged pleasantries with a nice-looking doorman. I walked past a glittering Christmas tree. I took a quick elevator ride. And then I walked in. To my friend’s home, quiet and serene. I tiptoed down the hallway into her living room and there she was. Gorgeous. Glowing. Standing there in the sun-blanched room clutching the little man himself. And I approached, blinking back tears. I gave her a cautious hug and studied that tiny face. The wispy lashes and button nose. The bow lips. The silly sprinkling of hair. He looks just like his Daddy. I told my friend this.

We sat down at the small table. And we talked. She unpacked the sugary confections I’d brought and placed them between us. But we didn’t indulge. Not then. We savored words instead. In broad, forgiving strokes, we talked about the scary road she’d traveled. A road that apparently also included a botched epidural and feared blood clot in the brain. I told her how radiant and skinny she looked and we joked about my little postpartum secret. We talked about our very good friend who just welcomed her beautiful second daughter on her thirtieth birthday. There was laughter. There was conversation. There was silence. The good kind.

At one point, I noticed that there were tears in my friend’s eyes. And she said, “I don’t even know how to thank you for your words. For your blog posts.” I told her she didn’t have to, that I wrote those words because I wanted to. And needed to. But she persisted, patently not plagued by the Pathetiquette that engulfs me. She told me that my words brought great solace to her and her husband and her geographically scattered family throughout this ordeal. She told me that her mother now reads my blog every day. She said those two words over and over. And they began to sink in. They did.

Thank you.

I took one last look at her little boy, pink and perfect in peaceful slumber. And I suffocated my friend with another hug. A less careful one this time. And then I walked back down that hall, traveled back down that elevator, muttered a quick goodbye to that nice man at the door. I walked back out into the relentless cold. My mind and heart swollen, I walked. Aimlessly.

I turned the corner and saw a familiar sign. A Starbucks sign. I marched toward that sign. I walked in. I waited on line with bundled strangers. Uncharacteristically, I ordered a decaf. I was plenty buzzed already. And though the store was packed, there was a little table in the back. One right near an outlet. I smiled.

I sat down. I plugged in. I logged on. I opened a new post. And I began to write, to pound away at this trusty keyboard. The words came and now keep coming. Here I am. Yards from my friend and her new love. Saying thank you. Thank you for being strong. For reminding me what matters. For letting me come glimpse that darling doll, for letting me witness the profound power of new life. For the sugar that is friendship.

Thank you.


And while I am on a roll, I have someone else to thank. Another woman. A different kind of friend. But a friend indeed. An exquisite writer and thinker. On her brilliant blog Daily Plate of Crazy, she goes by Big Little Wolf. In the past week, she passed along the Sugar Doll award to me and two of my absolute favorite bloggers Kristen and Goldfish. Per the wise Wolf, this particular accolade is is “bestowed for delightful and thought-provoking writing” and I am humbled and honored to receive this nod, this early Christmas gift from such a talented and thoughtful woman.

Now it’s my turn to pass along this sweet prize. And it’s a tough call, but I have chosen another new friend of mine: Jane of Theycallmejane’s Blog. Each and every day, I lap up Jane’s words, curiosities, and heartening optimism about this big, bad world we share.

Alas, a long and meandering post. But long and meandering like good days and good lives. And if you look closely at my words, affectionately jumbled here, there is a focus, however scattered. On sugar dolls, new and old. On close calls. On the lasting power of words. And on two words in particular. Two words that are hard for some of us to say.

Thank you.

Happy Friday, friends.

(Now it is off to Bergdorf’s pour moi. I need a dress for a certain upcoming holiday soiree…)

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13 Comments for: "Close Calls & Sugar Dolls"
  1. I have thought of this friend of yours so often since you first posted about her hospitalization. I am not surprised that your elegant and emotional posts about her ordeal were balms to her, her husband, and her long-distance family. And I am so, so pleased that her story ended so happily with a beautiful bundle of Mini Miracle in her arms.

    And yay, yay, yay for passing the Sugar Doll on to Jane, another favorite blogger of mine. Many mornings Jane’s posts do more than my ritual coffee in starting me out in a happy and energetic frame of mind.

    Happy weekend to you!

  2. New babies amidst hardship and trial are amazing to behold. They offer comfort and solace to their parents and those who worried and wrote about the struggles bringing them into the world. Your tribute to your friend is well put. Thoughtful. Wonderful.

    Have an excellent weekend!

  3. That description of the “drop everything” or “Save to Draft” moment is wonderful!
    A marker along the string of life’s journey.

    Yes there is such an interesting connectivity to this web thingy!
    Gretchen at Happiness Proj is amazing…
    I maybe refer to Gretchen over at the Project!

  4. T

    Beautiful post. I was right there, snuggled up with you gals and the sweet new life.

    Thank you for the sugar. Thank you for the sweetness.

    Thank YOU for your words. Enjoy your weekend!

  5. I got chills reading about your reunion with your friend and her precious little miracle. As I read I was smiling, nodding, tearing up. And then, a most magical sweet little gift, waiting for me at the end of this post. And such kind words. The chills ran down my arms for the second time. Thank YOU for enjoying what I write, for visiting me at my blog, for considering me a friend. I’m honored and touched. I am so glad we ‘met.’ And I so enjoy visiting YOU every day. Your words never fail to touch my heart.

  6. I am also exceedingly envious, jealous, covetous, of anyone with a preview copy of “the Happiness Project”

  7. Lovely. Nothing quite like beautiful new lives brought into the world. And new friendships, another kind of gift. Thank you, for both.

    But don’t forget – Ten things we don’t know about you – (or did you bury them somewhere and in my haze of writing under the influence (please pass the Tylenol) and scattered holiday mothering?)

    Happy holidays indeed.


  8. For all of our fretting about the toll our online lives may take on our “real” lives, (for all that they enrich it) there are moments where there is no question, aren’t there?

  9. What would life be without little miracles and good friends… or are they one and the same? 🙂
    Lovely post.

  10. and this….. “She unpacked the sugary confections Id brought and placed them between us. But we didnt indulge. Not then. We savored words instead.” is when i started bawling and couldn’t read the rest of the post because i couldn’t see through the tears.

    aidan, your words are art. your voice is true.

  11. decaf… interesting, thank you for a great post.

  12. And may I add my thanks? I will: thank you.

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