I am so lucky, so truly fortunate, to have more than my share of really wonderful friends. I keep the keepers close because you can never have too many true companions, all with their own role, their own story, their own nickname and inside joke. But among all those friends, I have one I call my best friend.
Loyal followers of my blog (hi mom!) might remember when my best friend got married. I wrote a post about it in part because I wasn’t there when it happened, and I was sad. Happy for her, sad for me. Happy to have such a friend, sad for the distance between our friendship.
Last week, my best friend had a baby. A beautiful, perfect baby boy. She labored, and labored, and poor dear continued to labor and eventually birthed the most wonderful little creature. And I cried tears of worry followed by tears of joy and I cry as I sit here and write this now. I could not be happier for her, more glad for the health of her and the baby, so grateful for what our lives have become. And yet a little sad, because though she only had to wait three weeks to meet our baby, I’ll have to wait more like three months to meet hers.
The thing is, she is well-loved and will do just fine without me physically present. She has a husband and a mom and amazing friends, but I’m not there. I want to hold him and help her and fawn over the newest human the way a best friend should for her best friend. I want to talk about babies and breasts and then change the topic to gossip or gardening just to remind her that we are still people not just moms. I want to show, physically, literally, with deeds and diaper changes how excited I am for her and her son and her growing family. I will, when I can, but I want to now.
Here’s the other thing: there was a time when my friend met her now-husband. And I was fine with it. Happy for her. And then they got serious. I got serious too. I wasn’t sure about him. Wasn’t sure about the whole thing. Thought maybe he wasn’t quite right for her. I was skeptical and hesitant and didn’t always show my true self when he was around. Because he wasn’t going to be around for long, right?
Eventually, they got SUPER serious, and became engaged. And I panicked.
And then I asked myself, why is this upsetting you? Why are you upset that your best friend is marrying someone who makes her happy and treats her right and values her as a human being and makes her laugh until she cries? Because he isn’t your favorite? Because you don’t like him? Selfish, and irrelevant. She’s getting married. Be happy for her. It isn’t about you.
Everything I told myself at the time was true. But looking back, I realize it wasn’t that I didn’t like him. With the clarity of retrospect I have to wonder, what’s not to like? He’s friendly and giving and hardworking and funny and active and likes to eat and drink and make merry. He’s as likeable as they come.
But here’s the other thing. I don’t just like him now. I love him. Have for some time. I love him for my friend, I love him as my own friend, I love that I can leave him in a basement with my husband for hours while I talk with my friend about women’s business and they are happy as clams together. I feel so silly now, knowing that my past unhappiness and sadness over her relationship with him was really only about me, and resistance to change and, more than anything, a fear of losing her. Losing her to him. Losing the “us” I had with her to the “us” she was making with him. How silly that seems in light of all I’ve gained.
Now, my friend has a son. And her husband has proven himself more worthy than I ever imagined, as a partner to a pregnant woman, as a hero during her labor, as a father that loves that son the way it was meant to be done. A wonderful new mother, a brave new daddy, my friend and her man made my world more complete by bringing this little guy into the world. My friend and her men, a big one and a little one and a furry one. I love you.