Monday, January 20, 2014

What I Would Say To That Girl...Part 4

(Me and Melanie on our first play date with our firstborn munchkins...June 1998)
We met at a softball game, the summer before my junior year in college. She was a chatty, bubbly girl, full of life. I was a bit more reserved. OK. I was a lot more reserved.  In fact, I found her open and colorful personality to be puzzling. Even a bit annoying.  After all, what was she so stinkin' happy about anyway? I had not always felt that way, but life had caused me to go into hiding. And I was sceptical that anyone could really be THAT nice. There had to be a catch!

 At first, we didn't like each other very much. Still, we were thrown together in countless social situations. A few months after that first meeting, we would find ourselves on the same dorm floor at Iowa State.  At first, we were reluctantly held together through a mutual friend.  Before long, however, we were giggling together. And then we were friends. Best friends. Those two girls who seemed so different, were more alike than they knew.  We even shared a birthday!

That girl who had perplexed me at first, actually helped me rediscover the girl I had been hiding from the world. We went on road trips together, ordered late night pizza together, and hung out together in our dorm as we studied for finals.  I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. She was a soloist in mine. And we were neighbors in married student housing.  She taught me how to arrange flowers and I persuaded her to dye her hair. (Bad decision, by the way). But that was just the beginning.

 In each other, we found a soul mate, with whom we could safely share life's joys and sorrows. Years have passed since those two young gals met at the softball field on that warm summer evening in Iowa. The two women in the picture above are now in their 40's. The two babies are now teenagers. A lot has changed since the day these two young Moms met for a play date and introduced their babies to one another. This is what I would say to the girl staring back at me in the photo...

Being friends as single college gals was fun. Being friends as new wives and neighbors in married student housing was even better. Being friends as new moms changed everything. Your friendship with this woman will grow richer than you ever knew possible as you grow in Motherhood.
 Relax. That baby boy you are holding really will sleep through the night. In fact, one day, you will anxiously await for him to wake up because you miss him when he sleeps in so late. That will take about 15 years. But the day will come.
This is the first of many wonderful "play dates" for these two little ones. As they grow, they will become close personal friends despite the fact that they are being raised hundreds of miles apart.

Many women will come and go in your life. Melanie will be a constant that keeps you grounded. And you will always be able to pick up the phone and feel like she is just down the hall.  She will always help you find your laugh,  and she will always know what to say when you just want to cry.

Motherhood is the toughest job you will ever love. Sometimes you will feel lonely. Surround yourself with women who understand that truth.

 Remember to take care of yourself. You are not a better Mom just because you make yourself the last priority.  Take naps. Take a shower. And take some time for yourself.

Call old friends who remember who you were before you became a Mommy. The "reality check" will do you good.

On a side note...each time you have a baby, you will foolishly decide to cut your hair. And each time you will regret it. A word of advice...postpone major hair decisions until after the baby starts sleeping through the night. It will save you from a lot of tears and insecurities. No girl should be allowed to make major hair decisions post-partum. But a true friend will tell you it looks chic, even if you are just not feelin' it. Melanie is that kind of friend.

You will be surprised by the people who come and go in your life. But you will be even more surprised by the ones who stay and love you at your best and your worst. Those friendships really are more precious than gold. This is one of them.

Who would have thought that a softball game could change one's life? Not me...but I am sure glad it did.


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