I meant to share my motherhood confessions today (like how […]
I meant to share my motherhood confessions today (like how my babe will never-ever eat homemade purée), but I’m gonna talk about something so much more important and soulful: meeting your friends wherever they might be in life and/or the city.*
My family of three spent Labor Day weekend visiting friends in Chicago. Adventurous and optimistic, we loaded our newborn into the car with our stroller, luggage, and agenda of people-to-see and, ya know, things-to-do. Music cranked and fingers crossed, we left our Minneapolis apartment at 7 a.m. and planned to arrive in Chicago nine hours later. We got courage, yes we do.
My list of people-to-see included four of my best friends: Amy, Clare, Emily No. 1, and Emily No. 2. I texted my girls from the road, and we planned an 11 a.m. brunch, a 4 p.m. happy-hour, and a 6 p.m. rooftop pool-party. Messages flew back and forth until a weekend was packed with just the right balance of friends and naps.
Ready for this? Amy is married with a newborn, Emily No. 1 is a newlywed without children, Emily No. 2 is engaged to her BFF, and Clare is Chicago’s most-eligible (read engaging and gorgeous) bachelorette. (Chris Harrison should call her ASAP.)
I knew, of course, that Amy would want to meet somewhere strollers wouldn’t bump-bump-bump into lovebirds and tourists and study abroad students. Why’s that? She’s got a newborn of her own. So making plans with Amy was easy: We went to the zoo with our husbands.
Meeting Emily No. 1 proved slightly more difficult, but the fault was all mine. Emily is a newlywed with almost-but-not-quite-yet-baby-fever, and I suggested we meet (husbands included) for happy-hour cocktails on a party ship called Castaways.** Our foursome+baby arrived on deck Saturday at 4 p.m., and we were greeted by a DJ blaring SHORTY GET LOW for scores of bikini clad girls and collar-popped gents. The company was excellent, but the hot sun // loud music // crowded boat proved a little, err, stressful for the babe. Lesson learned.
You probably don’t want full details on my meet-up with Emily No. 2 (brunch) or Clare (BBQ at her apartment), and that’s OK. My point was never to explain why I’m girl-crushing on my friends, but simply to provide an almost-textbook example of how my friends, all in different stages of life, are experiencing motherhood with me.
It’s a gorgeous thang when friends decide to ‘show-up’ (in both the literal and hypothetical sense of the word) despite having wildly different day-to-day (or night-to-night) schedules. For example: brunch happening at 11 a.m. despite Clare rocking the dance floor until bar close (her feet aching from stilettos and her head pounding with the remembrance of sweet champagne), and me rocking a newborn with a shrieking habit until sunrise. (We were both ‘rocking-all-night,’ but I’m covered in spit-up while she’s covered in glitter.) Clare’s tired, I’m tired, and traffic is nuts. Still, despite it all, we get together for those pesto-covered eggs.
Other times, life looks pretty similar for two besties. Amy and I met in college, and we got engaged, married and pregnant within a couple months of each other. All around high-fives for having a BBF to hold your veil when you pee, and then, years later, ‘show-up’ with a baby wipe when bitty boo’s diaper explodes at the zoo.
Yes, meeting friends meant prepping bottles, bringing diapers, and mentally preparing for an all-out-scream-fest in the city. It also, however, meant watching my BFF laugh with my son while we sipped mimosas to celebrate her engagement. It meant watching Max play with Amy’s newborn while our husbands chatted about fantasy football.
So how would I summarize friendship after a newborn? More exhaustion and more perfection. Or, to be more precise: more milk, less sleep, and a whole lot of soul-full moments with best gals and bitty babes.
*Confessions: I buy baby food in a jar. Even more truth? It’s not organic. It is, however, made only with apples or peaches or sweet potatoes and dished out with a whole lotta love.
**To be clear: I didn’t know it was a party ship until we arrived on deck.