friendship

A Moment, 17 Years in the Making

Seventeen years ago I was forced to go to church camp…not just any church camp but choir camp. My family and I had just moved back to Michigan from Pennsylvania and this was going to be a “great way to meet people.” At 13 years old, I was less than impressed by the prospect of going to a nerdy bible camp where we had to sing all day, every day. I can’t carry a tune and had no interest in learning but my mother forced me to go.
And (long before today) I was so grateful.
When I timidly stepped into the musty, dingy cabin with my turquoise sleeping bag under my arm a bright bubbly blonde interrupted my 13 year old angst-y thoughts.
“Hi! I’m Amy!” She said. She was a magical ray of sunshine in that dark, dreary cabin.
And that is how I met one of my oldest friends. We survived middle school and high school together having an occasional class together , we grew up in the church choir room together, four more years of choir camp, and then we went our separate ways to college. But we still had our chats on the dock of Walnut Lake, cinnamon toast from Einstein’s, we traveled around the world separately, we both got married back at home and then we both moved away.
After fifteen years of friendship, I got the most wonderful news! After a long road, she and her husband were expecting twins. I was thrilled and deeply saddened at the same time. This was the time that Matt and I had been trying for over a year. We had decided not to share our news or lack of news with anyone to try and avoid undue stress. But when I found out that she was pregnant, I knew she could be someone to reach out to. She talked me off many levels of ledges and our friendship grew in a completely different direction.
A few months later, we were pregnant too! We literally grew out together during this time. We were 700 miles apart but it was as though we were sitting on the dock sharing our stories, thoughts, and worries along the way.
Last week, we spent time together. In person. With our children. We drank coffee and cinnamon toast and traded stories of how wonderful a blessing our children have been to us. And conversely how awful and lonely mother hood can be. How messy. How grumpy. How exhausting.
Our kids played near each other, stole each other’s food, and drank out of each other’s sippy cups and we watched the three of them in awe. She reaffirmed my parenting style and I told her how beautiful her children were. We reminisced. We laughed. I cried.
Big sappy tears: Tears of happiness; to finally have a friend who understands without judgment. Tears of sorrow; for knowing our visit was going too fast. And tears of joy because how lucky am I to have had a friend for seventeen years for many seasons of life? How blessed. How magical.

the six of us

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Categories: baby, camp, friendship | Leave a comment

For Me, For Next Time.

I will enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy and I will try to enjoy the anticipation.
 
I will make sure I have all my bathroom necessities in all bathrooms.

I will not attempt to do dishes or clean for, at the bare minimum of, four weeks.

I will not feel bad about that.

I will ask the doctors how to take care of me. At the hospital – all the information given to me was how to care for this precious little baby. That came more naturally to me than I expected – but how to take care of my traumatized body was something I wasn’t prepared for.

I will make freezer meals, have paper plates and lots of snacks.

Water bottles will be at every nursing station.

I will realize what I’ve just done – given birth – and celebrate the miracle of life as well as the strength, energy and courage that it took to get that baby out. I will remind myself that I am a warrior.

I will not be afraid to take the baby into public or outside or in the car nor be afraid to bath the babe.

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I will ask for help.

I will not feel guilty for taking naps when we have company.

I will remind myself that I am beautiful whether I’m dressed with makeup or in my pajamas and a disheveled ponytail.

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I will not do laundry for the aforementioned four week period – at least.

I will not even think about working out, restricting calories or shedding excess baby weight I’m ready, emotionally and physically.

I know I will cry – and I will not apologize for any of it. It happens.

I will put away clothes with maternity tags.

I will stock up our DVR with my guilty pleasure shows like Full House, Gilmore Girls and Friends (even though I’ve seen them all more than a few times).

I will try to understand that needing a break from my baby doesn’t make me a bad mom and doesn’t mean I don’t love him. It means I need a moment to myself, to sleep, eat, shower, brush my teeth and regroup.

I will enjoy my pajamas.

I will shower every day.

I will call my girlfriends when I’m ready.

I will make play dates when I’m ready.

I will sleep, cry and remember to laugh because all too soon I will be back to work and he or she will be growing out of newborn onesies.

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Categories: baby, birth, family, friendship, infants, newborns, parenting, pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Our First Swim

Last night we had our first swim. It has been in the nineties here with ninety percent humidity and needless to say, it’s hot! Cam does pretty well with the heat but we try and limit our time outside and maximize our time in the AC.
Fourteen years ago – I started babysitting for a family from my church. Tim and Laura had one daughter, Julia, who was almost one in addition to a 10 year old daughter, Ashley and a 12 year old son, Josh. We slowly became very close and they became a second family to me. They had Kaylee a few years later and I instantly fell in love with her as I did with the rest of their family.

kaylee and julia

 

They cheered me on when I graduated from high school, supported me when I studied abroad, Ashley stood up in my wedding and when Cameron was born, they visited us in the hospital.
Last night, Cameron and I stopped by for a visit with Tim and Laura.
Again – it must be said – it was hot. The journey from the car, up their driveway to their front door had me covered in sweat. Lucky for me, they have a pool. I changed into my swimsuit and jumped in the pool. As I swam from one end to another – it was unbelievable that I was living this moment. Fourteen years ago I was changing diapers, rocking the girls to sleep and never imagined that Laura would be changing my son’s diaper and rocking him to sleep.
After Cameron’s nap, Laura brought him outside and we dipped his chubby little toes into the water. Tim took him for a lap in the shallow end and then I finished off his swim dipping him up to his shoulders.

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He looked relaxed, content. Eyes closed, arms out. He looked the way we felt. I think we all reveled in the moment, reflecting on our friendship, thankful for our past and looking forward to our future.

Categories: baby, family, friendship, infants, newborns, parenting, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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