I am sitting at the airport. O'Hare. My flight is delayed going home. It was also delayed coming here - by three-plus hours - but that's okay. That's okay because I got here. Because I was able to spend a few hours with my oldest, and best, friend in the world. I was able to see her new home, to chase her two-year-old around, to meet her baby boy, now 5 months. I was able to sit at her dining table and eat Indian takeout and watch her juggle nursing an infant and placating a toddler before bedtime. I was able to look her in the eye and talk about things. Things like age and life and parenthood and fear. Things like potty-training and good books and organic food. Things. Big things. Really big things. Small things. Really small things.
Here's the thing: Our sentences were fractured bits that we never got to finish. This is what life is like with tiny creatures underfoot. I know this. She knows this. Sister C (who was also with us) knows this. And yet we tried. To dig deep, to get somewhere. And we did.
There was a lot of laughter, a little wine. There were stories and smiles and so many pictures. There was friendship. The kind of friendship that stays strong despite distance and the thrum of Time. M lived next door until third grade. And then she moved. And I remember being so sad when she moved. I remember visiting her, an hour away, in her new home. I remember meeting her new friends and deciding that I loved them. I remember spending summers with M at soccer camp, the swallowed nickel, how all the boys at camp called me Rambo's Wife. I remember running around the fields behind M's house. I remember so much.
I remember her wedding. I was about to pop with Middle Girl. I turned 30 that night. I was big and round and uncomfortable and happy. I wore a rose-colored bridesmaid dress and my hair flipped in quasi curls. I remember watching M, the bride, exquisite in her blush-colored gown dancing with her groom. Her smile was enormous and real and full of everything good. I remember feeling so optimistic about my best friend's life then. It would be good.
And here we are. Years later. And my hunch was right on. My friend is married with two little beautiful babies. She has a new home that is light and full of good M energy. She is happy, guys. Like happy in the way you want to see someone happy.
And so. I sit here. In this odd little spot behind a random coffee kiosk because I spotted a charger and the kind coffee woman let me hide out here. The weather outside is damp and my flight continues to be delayed more and more. But it is all good. Because I got here. And I got to witness something that means a great deal to me: My friend. In the throes of a busy and good and rich life. A baby. 5 months old, bright-eyes and all smiles. It occurs to me now as I sit here, very much at the mercy of Mother Nature and Air Traffic Control and other forces over which I have zero control, that these moments, these hours, these little trips that aren't easy but are magical, are what it's all about.
Back to my gummy worms now.