When I met you twenty years ago and change, I had no idea that the tall, intimidating, worldly tomboy from the Bronx with the head full of massive curls and the legs that never quit would become one of the most important people in the world to me and my clueless suburban-bred self.
But you did, and you are. We’ve been through everything that best friends go through together: relationships good, bad, and ugly, family tumult, cross-country moves, weddings, job searches, milestone birthdays, existential crises. We answered the phone when it rang in the middle of the night. We have shared tears. We disagreed, we argue sometimes, but we have grown up together, and I believe we will grow old together.
We haven’t done everything together, though. Our paths have been very different. Almost eleven years ago, I had my first baby at a time when you doubted if you would ever have a baby. I emailed you with nothing but a + sign, telling you I was pregnant before I even told my husband. You listened to me and my every gripe, my every worry. You experienced my motherhood with me, even though you weren’t one yourself. You held my newborn. Even more, you watched me hold my newborn and reassured me that I was still me, that I could do this — and at that moment, I wasn’t sure of either. You were sure for me.
I continued to have babies, and you continued to be there for me. You visited my children, rooted for them at their games, brought them Legos, and listened to their stories. More than once, I have found reassurance knowing that if anything ever happens to me, you would be able to tell my children all about me. You would truly be able to reconstruct who I truly was and exactly how much I loved them, and I know you would. It helps me sleep at night, frankly.
Now I am finished having babies, and you finally made the call to tell me that you are pregnant for the first time. It was a phone call I was hoping I would receive, and when I saw your name on my phone, I just knew.
I want you to know that I find myself thinking about you feeling first kicks, or pulling on your first pair of maternity jeans. I wonder what kind of crib sheets you will buy for your baby. I imagine what you might look like, all belly and long legs, when you go to the hospital this summer. I wonder what your experience of childbirth will be, whom your baby will look like, and if he or she will have your hair or your skin. No offense to your lovely husband, but I am kind of hoping for your skin.
Nothing thrills me more than knowing what you are about to experience. I have been waiting so long to watch you receive this gift and begin your own adventure. I want you to know, too, that I am ready. When you need me, I am ready to remind you of who you were when you were 19… and who you are now. I will tell you that you can do this. I will be sure for you. I will root for your child and send love gifts. I will remember the details of you: the songs you sang, the poems you loved, the people and places you have held dear. I’m ready. The best part is, everything is about to change for you, and yet nothing need change at all for us. Best friends can work that kind of magic.
Over the years, the Indigo Girls’ “Love Will Come to You” has been my song for you. It was kind of like my prayer for you. Now, it seems like your dreams are coming true, and with them, my prayers.
I say love will come to you,
Hoping just because I spoke the words that they’re true
As if I offered up a crystal ball to look through
Where there’s now one, there will be two.
I love you, and I already love this baby. I cannot wait.
And to answer your question, no, you never have to give up maternity jeans. Now that you are a mom, no one will think twice if you have a panel of elastic on your waistband. Perk of the job.