It all started with a text message.
“Does this look positive to you?” she asked. I squinted at the faint pink lines, made even fainter through the technology of cell phone photography.
“Uh…maybe?” I texted back. “Get one of those digital tests, the kind that just say “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”
An hour or so later came the next picture.
And that was when everything changed.
I was at a work event that morning, right out in front of 600 of our most senior leaders. I needed to be focused and capable, but what I really wanted to do was go racing home and hug my best friend. I wanted us to go skipping off to baby stores and buy everything we saw and then go home and decorate the nursery.
But that’s not reality. Instead I slipped away and called Kathy to congratulate her. She was excited, but a little freaked out, and not entirely sure how her husband was feeling (he’s a man of few words even in person so at work I can’t imagine he’s more animated or verbose).
By that evening the gravity of the situation had hit me. I met Kathy just before I went for my evening workout and after the happy hugs and and celebrating I couldn’t help but ask, “What the hell have you done?”
“I know,” she said. She was pregnant and would be a mother for the rest of her life.
I told my trainer because I was too excited to keep it a secret and after my workout ended I got changed and headed to Erika’s parents house for her birthday party – Kathy, Russ, and Kathy’s parents were all already there. I made eye contact with Kathy’s mother and we shared an “Oh my gosh I want to explode I’m so happy but I’m trying really hard to keep it in” look. I tried to keep my voice casual as I said, “It’s been quite a day for you, hasn’t it?” to Kathy’s father.
“I knew last week,” he said, his voice low. “She just looked like she was glowing.” (Dad win!)
The “kids” – all of us college graduate age – gathered in the family room and talked in excited, hushed whispers. I congratulated Russ, whose response was a typical-for-him, “Thanks, you should have been there” (groan).
But then it was present-giving time and Kathy explained that her gift to Erika was a new title – “Aunt.” And the moms went crazy and the dads were all dad-like (as they are wont to be at such emotional times) and there was much rejoicing. The game of “will it be a boy or a girl” began right away though we knew it was just silly (baby didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl biologically yet!).
And the weeks went by and our closest friends were told and the celebrating would start again. It was funny to me to watch life go back to normal after that, though I don’t know what I expected. Only every now and then would something come up – blue cheese on a salad or raw oysters – and then I would remember, “yes, that’s right.”
Before long I started thinking of the future in terms of, “she won’t be pregnant anymore then and so we’ll be able to…” but that’s when the other shoe drops and I’ll realize, “but she will have a baby so…” And then I stop and think about how hard it is to predict the future after all.
It’s not that my best friend having a baby will change everything, it’s just that nothing will be the same. And I’m so excited to see how it all unfolds.
P.S. I’ve tried not to buy anything until Kathy finds out if the baby will be a boy or a girl, but I scored these little guys for $3. Total. I would put my little girl in them so I think they’re “neutral” enough but my taste is a little different than most peoples anyway.
Then I found out Russ doesn’t like the clothes with sayings on them. Too bad, it’s just gonna get baby-related bodily fluids of some kind on it anyway (reality check!). Shudder.
Have you ever had a best friend or close sibling have a baby? What’s your favorite part of helping other people get ready for their new babies?