Once upon a time, I was a new mom. I didn’t think I needed new friends, but it turns out I did. So I made one (and soon after, made more). Our babies didn’t know it yet but they would become friends, too.
And so we went from this…
I look at these two pictures and all the ones in between and the clichés start pouring forth before I can really get a handle on what makes it so significant, so bittersweet, so perfect. It goes by fast!, and Haven’t they grown?, and Wasn’t that just yesterday? and Remember the time when…? and Hey, let’s talk about kindergarten – wait WHAT!?
And then I look harder and I realize that what feels most moving to me, most transformatively significant, is not how the girls have evolved. It’s how their mothers have.
It’s not really about them at all, it’s about our friendship and our milestones and our journey from hi-nice-to-meet-you first friends to text-you-in-the-middle-of-the-night friends and put-my-number-on-your-emergency-preschool-pickup-list friends.
When I see this picture of Girl Powers biting her First Friend’s head (instantly and forever a classic), I remember a group of us on picnic blankets at the park – a whole squad of new-mom-friends and babies who were newly rolling, crawling, grabbing, sitting, teething. It must have been this time of year and we must have been so glad to be outside after that long, hot first summer trapped inside.
When I see this one, I remember a first birthday party and new walkers and tiny pigtails and party dresses. I remember one of our group was pregnant for the second time already and several more were contemplating the idea. All of a sudden we had toddlers.
Another birthday party, and by this point their little brothers were on their way. There was talk of potty training and second pregnancies and big girl beds. They seemed so big – at just two – and now look so, so little.
This wagon ride was the very first time we walked from our house to their house after we both moved to the same neighborhood. It’s a walk we’ve done a hundred times since, in wagons, strollers, while wearing newborns, and now calling ahead as the training wheels leave us in the dust.
They’ve grown. We’ve grown. They run and go to school and put on fashion shows and boss around their brothers. We plan girls nights and birthday parties and third pregnancies and minivan purchases.
They may stay friends forever or grow apart as schools and activities and friends of their own making take over – after all, their babyhood proximity was merely circumstantial – but our friendship is rooted in that most vulnerable and sacred time of new motherhood.
Our faces don’t appear in any of the pictures (literally, almost none), but we are there – at every stage – cutting up grapes and wiping up spills, sharing wine and recipes and Bachelor predictions. Their changes are measured in growth charts and milestones; ours in more subtle ways – a 30th birthday party here, a new hairstyle there.
Before the girls, we didn’t know each other. Because of them we do.
So I guess, the thanks goes to these two…