We met with them again last night … the friends we made at prenatal class. We try to meet annually … but the last time we saw them was over 18 months ago. Life has a way of changing the best laid plans. The first time we connected was almost 35 years ago. We initially met when we were expecting our first born children. If I recall correctly, our husbands sparked some big belly laughs (no pun intended) during class and then we ‘went for coffee’ (figuratively speaking of course) after class. Bill and John may have had coffee … but Linda and I had tea (Red Rose/Orange Pekoe for her and Earl Grey for me … if memory serves). And we laughed some more. A whole lot more. And it was the start of something ‘real’ … and … something ‘precious’. It is something John and I still deeply cherish after more than three decades … something that time and distance cannot possibly diminish nor adequately define.
Linda and I were so good for each other back then … calming our mutually anxious minds and perfectionist mentalities with pre-birthing rhetoric like “How hard could it be? ” … “People do it all the time.” … “We can do this.” I mean, seriously, we were bright, educated, articulate, capable, caring and competent women. Surely … having a baby wouldn’t change our lives that much! Ha ha. HA HA.
Someone famous once said “Ignorance is bliss.” Confirmed. Only 100% though. Our post-birthing exchanges reflected none of that pre-birthing nonchalance. Rather, they were more like wide-eyed, humbled retractions of those innocent and perhaps slightly naive notions that we were actually prepared and ready for this all encompassing motherhood thing.
We still laugh … about how entirely gobsmacked we were when our sweet little cherubs arrived. All 7lbs and 12oz of my gorgeous girl (Tiana) arrived just less than three weeks before their beautiful boy (Ryan). And, Linda reminded me last night that in the days and nights I had to explore the realities of motherhood in advance of her, I had phoned her … just to give her the heads up!! I don’t recall my instinctive effort to protect her (probably due to excessive overwhelm and sheer post-natal exhaustion), but she remembers me distinctly impelling her to “SLEEP. SLEEP NOW!”
And we laughed again in recollection … but it wasn’t so funny back then. We were both so sleep deprived for sooooooo darn long enough … so long that that we had to dig deep and retract the prior ‘how hard could it be’ perspective we had espoused … and … surrender to the “Oh, sh#t … this is da*n hard.” Oh my, as bright, educated, articulate, capable, caring and competent women we found ourselves thoughtfully reconsidering: “How do people make it look so easy ?” and “How is it that they do it more than once?” Yes … we found ourselves digging deep. Very deep.
And so we commiserated together . Often … in person and on the phone … and we helped each struggle AND chuckle through all those parts we did not see coming. Yes. A humbling is always easier to embrace when you do it with someone else. So, Linda … if I haven’t actually said it to you before … let me take this moment to say it now. I was so much better able to navigate the perils of parenting because of you. Yes I was. You were so real. You supported me so earnestly and honestly and kindly in the midst of my debilitating self-doubt. We shared the real deal. Thank you.
It might have made sense for our relationship to fizzle once our children started sleeping through the night and my hubby and I moved away. But … despite the many spaces in our togetherness over the decades … this did not happen. And, it never ceases to amaze me that regardless of how long it has been … “we are instantly swept back into the moment it was before it left … with the same wonder and hope, comfort and heartbeat. Real connections live on forever.”
Comfortable and comforting. That is how it feels! With you, Bill and Linda … it’s always entirely unpretentious. And that is so comforting to the soul. And we have been blessed to meet life like this with you … annually(ish) … and it makes all the unpredictable twists and turns of life so much more bearable. The losses, the successes, the challenges, the growth, the struggles, the joys … and everything in between. And we can still laugh. A lot. And my spirit is always so deeply nourished when we connect. I mean it … enough to bring tears.
And I have permission to speak for my husband here. It is such a rare gift to have two couples whose fondness for one another is not feigned nor tolerated nor forced simply because the wife likes the wife but not so much the husband … or … vice versa. Or versa vice. Well, whatever, you know what I mean. It’s rare when all four connect in a meaningful way … and maybe that is why it is so real. There is no ‘supposed to’ in the space between us. Just raw, honest, heart-felt exchange. Usually 4 to 6 hours of it. We take up a lot of space in the restaurant. So … we tip well. And often, we find ourselves in the parking lot … still discovering numerous things we never had enough time to chat about. And it is so beautiful. So damn beautiful. 🙂
Yes, we came home last night, with very full hearts … again. We laughed with you and we connected with you and we so very much look forward to more annual(ish) laughs and real connections. We flirted, however, with the notion that maybe a year is becoming a wee bit long for us … at our ages. Yes. It’s just that we have so much to talk about. And laugh about. Yes, we do. I’m guessing we’ll simply trust how it all unfolds … just as we always have. ❤
And so … this special tribute is extended in honor of a very ‘real connection’ with a very extraordinary couple. Thank you … Bill and Linda … our lives are truly, honestly and most gratefully … better because of you! Yes, I am speaking for both of us when I acknowledge just how significant your presence has been in our lives … and … our hearts. Thank you. Deeply. Truly. Really. Thank you.
With humungous hugs and an abundance of appreciation, Karen and John
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