I am fortunate to have friends I would do anything for. Anything? Yep. Anything.
So when two of them announced they were having a baby naming for their newborn daughter at 7:45 a.m. on a Monday morning–a morning (much like every other morning) when I have all three kids on my own and at 7:45, I’m usually still pajama-clad, trying to pour myself coffee without missing the cup while simultaneously tossing waffles at my kids and filling their requests for water and just wishing, wishing, wishing I could clone myself…or at least my right arm…
7:45 on a Monday morning? I’ll be there.
The naming was held in a small room at a local city synagogue. I walked in alone. As I entered the doorway, my eyes adjusting to the indoor light, I spotted a friend and plopped down next to her. And then I had a moment to survey the cozy crowd. Dotting the pews were familiar faces of friends I’ve known since I was an awkward bangs, glasses, and braces-clad tween, clueless and curious, a work-in-progress for sure. They loved me then. And I love them for it now.
The friend next to me? Danced at my wedding two weeks before giving birth to her first child. Her husband sitting on her other side? Gave me the confidence to swim across the lake at our overnight camp in the summer of 1992–the prerequisite for participating in the cherished canoe trip. In fact, he (a counselor then) swam it right along with me, encouraging me the entire way. Behind us sits my friend’s older sister with her four beautiful children. Somewhere, I still have a note she wrote me over 20 years ago. Two rows away sit my former bunkmates. We used to dance around singing Come Sail Away at the top of our lungs as we cleaned our cabin after breakfast, and fell asleep listening to Enya every night, after whispering our deepest secrets into the darkness.
Over the years, when life put distance between us, we spent long hours talking on the phone, and then long hours on AOL Instant Messenger, and then wrote each other long e-mails during college. We shared spring breaks and sleeping bags, clothing and confidences, kisses and cries.
We’ve loved and lost and lived together.
One among our group of friends grew up in a modest apartment building in Brooklyn. When I would visit him there during high school, I always thought, this is how I want to raise my kids. In a building where children, food, and friends flow freely among the apartments, where the neighbors all know one another and look after each other’s kids as if they were their own. I wanted to raise my children in a community of loving friends.
This morning, as I held my dear friend’s newborn baby girl, I thought–this is our apartment building. These are our children. We’ve done it. Sure, things may look a little different–we may text each other to make plans to meet at the playground instead of shouting down the hall; we may buy our own butter; we may hire babysitters instead of dropping the kids off at each other’s homes.
But we’re there for each other in the same way. In the way we’ve always been. And in the way I know we always will be.
7:45 on a Monday morning?
I’ll be there.