When I met my best friend M, she was not yet born. I was weeks old and Mom held me tight. On the front steps of my childhood brownstone, two blocks from the Starbucks where I type these words now. On that October day, M’s mother, full of life – literally and figuratively - stepped out of a taxi. Mom and M’s mother, unknowing next door neighbors, talked, I imagine, about babies and motherhood. About new life.
I don’t remember that day. Of course not. And yet. I can picture it. The brown steps and the crisp air. The fledgling words of friends. Two little ones separated by one womb and mere weeks.
Yesterday morning. Early. I sit at the kitchen island addressing Christmas party invitations listening to Christmas music. The kids watch cartoons. The baby inside me, my third daughter, flips and flutters. The phone rings. I pop up. I know.
It’s M’s mother. “We have a baby!” she says, her voice laced with love.
Barefoot, I dance in place. “Tell me everything you know!” I demand.
And the details flash like beautiful wildfire. Bits and pieces of a story that matters. But one fact sticks as the others slide away.
“You were right,” M’s mother says. “It’s a girl!”
I knew it. Oh, how I knew it. M is one of those amazing and patient souls who was able to wait to find out. She thought it was a boy. But I knew. Whenever we talked, I always referred to M’s unborn child as a girl. How did I know this? Well, of course I didn’t. But I hoped. And why did I hope? I don’t know. And I do.
I hoped that M would have a girl because I know what it is like to have a girl. I wanted her to have this experience, too. I hoped because right now, as I am typing these words, there is a little girl inside me. Waiting. Waiting for her own arrival. Her own day.
And I know something as much as I have never known anything. And I announced this thing to M’s mother on the phone this morning. “You know that M’s little girl and mine are going to be best friends, don’t you?”
“Yes,” she said, “I do.”
In the next few days, I will say goodbye to my man and my girls and board a plane to Chicago. I will fly and I will land. I will arrive at the front door of a new family. I will hug M. As hard as she lets me. When I see her, I will probably cry because she is the one who has been there, through it all, literally it all – through the births and the deaths, the questions and the answers – and I know the moment will drown me. When I cry, I will blame the hormones and the happiness.
And then I will get my first peek. At Baby B. I haven’t seen a picture yet, but already I know. She’s gorgeous. Just like her mother. I will study her. The little nose and the little lashes. I will watch her sleep. And when the time is right, I will hold her. I will hold her on my lap. And one womb and mere months will separate them, M’s little girl and my own. In my mind, it will be the day they meet. And they won’t remember it, no, these best friends. But we will tell them, M and I, about this day.
I spoke to M briefly. It was a short call, but long enough that I could tell. She’s in love. And I can’t wait to get the whole story. In her words. For now, I will have to wait and imagine. Because I am here and she is there, cozy in some hospital room many miles away, settling into her new life. And when I think about that new life, I smile so big for my friend. The tears, wet jewels of joy, also come.
Because this? This is big. For M, surely. But also for me.
Congrats to M and M’s family big and small, old and new. I love you all.
When did you first meet your oldest and best friend? Have you ever been overwhelmed by vicarious joy? Any words of wisdom for M as she embarks on this exquisite path that is parenthood?