with Best Friend
My best friend and I shared pregnancies. Our sons arrived three weeks apart, and might as well have been twins. Sunday afternoons found us together, pregnant, updating one another on our latest aches and pains, rejoicing in her ability to finally partake in the satisfaction of cravings (she’d been deathly ill for the first half of her pregnancy), and dreaming about the friendship that might be forged between our children.
When my friend called, asking me to accompany her on a trip to the pet store to choose a new puppy for her daughter, I should have jumped at the chance to interact with little bundles of furry joy. But instead, I secretly questioned her intentions. Why? We were seven and eight months pregnant. Wasn’t that enough pending drama? Why would a woman who shuddered at dog slobber and breath, want to crazy-up her own home life – just before her second child’s birth?
I had my misgivings, but thought, “Why not? Maybe she’s had a change of heart.” Maybe her daughter had dug deep enough to convince her that a dog would be a great addition.
On the morning of our planned outing, the rain didn’t simply pelt the rooftop, it fell in sheets outside my bedroom window. My husband had already left for a Saturday job, the alarm clock was turned off, and I was happy to sleep in. So, I phoned my friend to cancel our puppy pursuit, in hopes of rescheduling. Her response? 'No go' … I was not getting out of this. Her daughter was demanding a puppy, and she’d promised. She didn’t know the first thing about choosing a dog, and I was directly instructed to perk up, get dressed, and get my dog-lovin’ butt over there.
So I did what any red-blooded reluctant pregnant woman would do on a rainy morning. I dressed the part. My hair was frizzy, but no worries … the rain would frizz it right back up … so I wasted no time on it. My face was plain … but the damp weather would surely melt any make up … so I retained the “natural” look. Most of my clothes were too tight, so I donned my husband’s hunter green Tasmanian Devil sweatshirt, my fattest fat pants, and sneakers with a lot of miles and enough width to house my brick-like feet (they would, after all, be splashing through any number of puddles).
The one possibility I’d overlooked? That before my friend’s Dodge Charger, squatted under the weight of pregnancy, would pull up in front of the pet store, it would halt at the local pizza shop. My friend had an emergency craving … for pepperoni and black olives. And I, in good pregnant friend fashion, followed with designs on a slice of sausage and mushroom.
Then … in a flurried, camera-flashing moment that would live in infamy, I walked right into my own baby shower! How could I have not known? My first child … so close to the end … the puppy?
There I stood, in front of every woman I’d ever known - undeniably frizzy, fat, and frumpy. Under me, the crazed cartoon character on my husband’s shirt looked like a beauty queen.
So, I politely apologized for my appearance, shot an “I’m gonna kill you” glance toward my friend, and commenced opening gifts of alien proportions, wondering in my head what the heck was a Diaper Genie, and not wanting to know exactly what a nose aspirator was to be used for.
Pictures were snapped, good wishes were wished. Birth stories were exchanged, cake was inhaled.
It didn’t take me long to realize that no one gave a baby’s butt about how I was dressed. And, as I watched my bulbous friend scuttle about, cutting cake, recording gifts on cards, and giggling at references to my pending delivery, I understood that this wasn’t about what I wore, or how my hair was slowly cajoling itself into an afro, but rather about friendship, and her expression of love for me and her child’s yet-to-be best buddy.
A note for best friends, sisters, and mothers of pregnant women: When planning that shower, tell her she’s being taken to a five-star restaurant for dinner, or to the opera, or at least to an autograph session with a handsome movie star. You might think she looks cute as a button, but she really feels more like a leg of mutton. Do your best to preserve her pride.
And for you, the pregnant and waiting: When you’re too pregnant to tie your own shoes, remember that there’s a whole 'nother world' out there, tying balloons, hanging streamers, and planning cheesy party games. Comb your hair, throw a lipstick into your purse, and be ready for anything.
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