My oldest, and certainly one of my dearest, bestest-ever friends called me on Monday. Her voice was soft as she said, "Jen, I think this is it."
Every woman knows. Labor. The blessed day had come.
She's Jenn. Like me, Jen, only with another 'n', which makes sense because she's a lot taller than me. Two peas in a pod, we were, friends since age 8, both with brown hair and freckles. So many of my childhood memories include her. She was always there.
And we grew up, but never apart.
We were supposed to go to the Y together, but she left, and I stayed behind. And then I got married. She couldn't be there. But she found rides from BYU for almost every Thanksgiving for the first several years of my marriage. She loved him too, for me. I had my first little baby girl, and we flew to NJ when she was 5 months old. Jenn held my baby. She loved her too.
Then Jenn left on a mission to Costa Rica, and I wrote to her nearly every single Tuesday. I was pregnant with my second child, and she was teaching the people of Costa Rica about Jesus Christ.
My parents divorced. Her parents divorced. We both felt our worlds rocked. Her parents were a part of the background of my life, and now, even if I'd gone home, to the ward we'd grown up in, it wouldn't be the same. Ever again.
When she got home, we still never let too many years pass without visits, mostly her to me. She finished school and graduated and found a job teaching. She traveled abroad and had exciting experiences. And then I was pregnant with my third baby, and she came and held my belly and marveled. She helped me paint the nursery and stencil Noah's Ark around the walls. She gave my husband and me tickets to Alaska to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We'd always wanted to go, and so we planned to go the following summer, when the baby would be about 6 months old, and the other two 6 and 4 1/2.
A year later, my husband left me. After more than ten years together, she was broken-hearted too. She'd loved him, but she loved me more, and my hurt was her hurt. We've always had that kind of connection, despite the miles.
She found a great guy. A really great guy who loved her, and was willing to go the distance, and she married him. I couldn't be there, because I was getting married for the second time that very same weekend. Now we share anniversaries! (Someday that will mean something cool, and we can go on a trip together or something.)
I became pregnant with my fourth child, and she came and held my belly. Listened to my baby within. Felt the jabs and the squirming life. And when he was born (just missed being there for the birth!), she came and held him, and because he was part of me, she loved him instantly. I watched her caress his cheek. I watched the way she held him, the way she looked at him.
And I wanted her arms to hold her own. I wanted her heart to burst.
And now it was time. Labor.
I wanted desperately to be by her side, but circumstances did not allow, so after a pregnancy of shared experiences and questions through phone calls and emails, I was able to be with her on the other end of the phone as she breathed through those surging waves of contractions, bringing forth her firstborn.
I couldn't help but feel the spirit of the event. Birth gets me every time.
"You're a queen," I told her. "Look at what you are doing. Your body is literally performing the measure of its creation in this very instant. You are a queen."
"And think of the sacredness of this moment. Your little boy, is at this time, saying his goodbyes to all of his loved ones in heaven, ready with anticipation and probably a little trepidation for his mortal experience. The veil is so thin. Maybe he's there right now with his siblings-to-be, and he's saying, 'I'll see you soon! This is it!' Maybe the Savior himself is giving him a farewell kiss. You are both having the most powerful experiences of your existences up to this point right at this very moment, simultaneously."
She's crying. So am I. But it's all good. Breathe.
"You can do this, Jenn. You are stronger than you know. Your body is wise and knows just what to do. Don't forget to marvel at its power and strength. It was created to do just this. You are doing it. I love you."
She needs to go to the hospital soon. And just a bit later, she calls and she says, "Jen, he's beautiful."
As I knew he would be. And now her heart is bursting. As I've wished for her for all these years. I remember vividly that first day of motherhood. And the second. And the third. And now, fourteen years plus down the road, I wonder what I'd do differently, what I've learned along the way. I can't possibly give it all to her. Maybe a bit here and there, but it's her journey, and I wouldn't spoil it for her.
For now, her heart bursts with love (and her body aches, and she can't shower, or go to the bathroom, and her back hurts, and sitting hurts, and she's oh, so tired, and her breasts are adjusting, and she has no time to herself. . .)
And my heart bursts in gratitude. Now, we are truly sisters.
Welcome to the world, Alden Michael. Boy, are you gonna love your mommy.
*Don't forget to enter the Cupcake Dress giveaway if you haven't already! You have until Saturday at noon!