I didn’t think dropping my son off at your son’s 10th birthday sleepover would leave me verklempt.
After the gaggle of celebratory tweens scurried off to play Nerf gun combat, you encouraged me to stay for our customary cocktail and chit-chat. Happy to oblige and assist in the effort, I carried the wasabi peas and pita chips to the back patio table to find a chilled prosecco flanked by the birthday root beer waiting patiently for our arrival.
It was then I spied the set of chaise longues nestled in the corner. I took one look at those chairs and flash-backed to my child, your son and their rolls of baby deliciousness that used to sit there side by side munching Goldfish. I thought about our boys being born 10 days apart. I thought about how this summer marked their 10th year of friendship. Too embarrassed to share the sentiment, I fanned my tears with a chip and blamed the reaction on the peas.
I regained my composure and got on with the festivities. We poured the bubbly and toasted to our sons’ double-digit birthdays. But in my stir of emotion, I forgot to toast something equally as important: our 10 years of friendship.
We had our first date at The Newcomers Club Mommy and Me. I showed up as a non-member. You came late. The other attendees likely took note of both. A frumpy, postpartum version of myself watched from the sofa as you and your bouncing boy—each decked in blue—worked the room, two blond rays of sunshine to whom all the moms were instantly drawn. When the crowd waned, you parked on the rug near my feet and my sleeping infant.
Any hormonal blahs and sleep deprivation you may have been feeling were eclipsed by a genuine excitement to be out of the house and in the presence of empathetic adults. Your warm introduction disintegrated my walls and quelled the new-mom insecurities I harbored. I thought you were positive, easygoing and kind, and I hoped we would be friends.
The Newcomers eventually dispersed, but fortunately, we did not. Your friendship has remained constant even when separation seemed probable. When our boys reached the point we had to shelve playdates because they butted heads, we made sure not to suspend our own. When I had my second child, you came to the hospital with sea salt brownies for me and open arms for him, even though our moms-of-only-children dynamic had changed. When we moved in the dead of winter, you trekked to visit our new place before I unpacked a box despite the added drive time. When, six years ago, you started a business while simultaneously chasing your dream job, you still took the time to encourage and help me pursue my passion even after you landed that dream job and went back to work full-time.
It only takes a glance at my Wonder Woman Lego key chain, my “Believe” Giving Keys necklace, or my 40th birthday golden clutch you knew I always wanted to remind me of your thoughtfulness, generosity, integrity, determination, creativity and faithfulness—the qualities you possess that I so admire, the same ones you have instilled in your son.
An unexpected and welcomed byproduct of becoming a mom was finding you, my friend. And so, on our aluminum anniversary, I raise my glass. Thank you for being the real deal.