Gina and I met the first day of 7th grade. It was 1987 and we were 12 years old. We’ve been bff’s ever since. We’ve traveled far and wide in our friendship and it’s a sisterhood I hold very very close – she’s family. Gina’s been here since the second day we arrived home from the hospital. Not only has she been helping us with all the baby how-to’s, but she’s been a witness for us during this time in our lives when everything feels so raw and new. She’s been so incredibly gentle and wise and helpful during this time – it feels like a tremendous gift and I’m not sure how John and I would have survived without her these last several days. As she gets ready to head back home to her family and her life, I asked if she would share some of her thoughts about her visit with us. I’m so glad she wrote these words. I’ll remember them always…
I’ve always thought that newborn babies look like ancient, wise souls. It’s something about the way they gaze into our eyes, into the world. It’s deep, soulful. The past few days I imagine True laughing at us behind his big, dark eyes as we bustle around him, making a big fuss out of all kinds of things – “What we really need from Babies R Us is…” “What’s that red spot on his face?” “Does anyone know where the nipple shield is?” “Okay, you hold his arm out of the way while I try to get him to latch on…wait, the sleeve of his shirt is in the way…” “What’s that in his diaper?” “This feels unrelenting!” Then there’s the tears, the frustration, the goofy, smitten new parent voices, the totally comical times. I’m sure there are moments that we have looked like a three ring circus to him. (I am positive that his favorite moment was the first day I was here when he was breastfeeding on Kelly’s right boob and I was simultaneously pumping her left “problem” boob with the breast pump. Even as a seasoned mother of two, that was a new one for me!)
The truth is that even though True is technically the baby bird around here, Kelly and John are the ones having to grow their parental wings and learn to fly. Leaving the hospital is like being pushed out of the nest for the first time…you pretty much land on the ground with a big SPLAT. When we learn something new, it can be unbelievably awkward and scary. Breastfeeding feels like trying to eat M&M’s with greased chopsticks. Changing a diaper or wrestling a newborn into an outfit feels like learning origami. Preparing to leave the house with the baby takes a hundred years and then some. I’ve often thought that becoming a parent grows us up along with our children. Not only does it take you to the limits of your emotional capacity, high and low, but it always presents you with new challenges and opportunities for growth because children are forever changing. We think we are raising them, but they are raising us, teaching us new flight patterns day by day and pushing us to be better than we think we are.
So, needless to say, Kelly and John are in major flight school mode over here. It’s fun to watch the sacred dance between the three of them as they try to figure this new life out. There are moments when True looks at Kelly like, “Come on Mama, you can do it!” I too know she can and she will and it’s going to be beautiful. It already is.