Some of my best friends are women I hardly ever get to see. That’s what happens with life, I suppose. People move away for college. They begin careers. They follow spouses on deployments. Or they chase their own dreams of travel.
We leave the people we love behind.
It’s nobody’s fault. Life changes; people move on. But one day you get a call that a friend you love and miss is pregnant, and that distance suddenly feels more difficult to bear.
There is something about motherhood that makes us want to bring our people closer. I don’t know about you, but if I had my way, I’d build a compound and ensure all my nearest and dearest had homes within a block of mine. Our kids would grow up together. They would swim in each other’s pools, knock on each other’s doors, and string tin-can phones from window to window.
And we, my dear friends, would be right there watching them as we sip spiked lemonades on the porch, reminisce about the wild days of our youth, and agree that we like this life more.
We’d slow the chaos of parenthood and enjoy it with good friends.
We would have each other to lean on — not just through phone calls and Skype, but in those moments when we truly just need someone to take over the reins. You could call me at the height of your pregnancy misery, and I could be there in five minutes with pickles and ice cream and some Channing Tatum movie to take your mind off all the rest.
We could swap school pick-up days and even take each other’s kids for the night when one of us needs a break. We could sit in backyards and let the kids run wild while we have adult time and decompress.
We could be there — really be there — to watch each other’s lives change so much.
Instead, I’ll be following along on Facebook for the ever-growing baby bump photos. I’ll be waiting anxiously for the text from your husband announcing the birth of the little one you’re carrying. I’ll pick up the late-night calls when you just need to vent about how exhausted you are. And I’ll do my best to try to book a trip to see you, and meet your little one, before that little one goes off to college.
Of course, it’s hard. I’ve done this before. You aren’t my first pregnant faraway friend. There are hundreds (thousands) of miles in between us, and we both have our own families to care for and support these days. So, as much as I love you, I know we won’t see each other as much as I’d like. I know that growing baby of yours might not be a baby at all by the time I hold them in my arms — and that kills me. Because I want to be there. I want to be a part of this huge thing now happening in your life. Just as I wish you could be a bigger part of my motherhood journey as well.
I don’t want to just be at your baby shower, I want to be the one throwing it.
I don’t want to just get the text about your newborn, I want to be right outside your hospital room waiting to be invited in.
I don’t want to measure your baby’s milestones by the updates you share online, I want to be there witnessing each and every one alongside you for the first time.
And I hate that it probably won’t ever be that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my village and I know you have yours. But when I think about the women who know me best — the ones who have played the biggest roles in my life thus far — you’re absolutely on that list.
And now you’re pregnant and far away, any fantasy I may have had of us raising our kids together is just that: a fantasy.
And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that distance makes me even sadder now. Because as much as I’ve missed you all these years, I’m going to miss you even more when you join the mommy ranks. I know how many times since becoming a mother I’ve wished you were closer to share my journey with me. And I know how helpless I’m going to feel when you make those late-night calls, exhausted and overwhelmed, and there’s nothing I can do but listen.
But just know, I’ll be wishing I could do more. Wishing I could pull you in my arms and promise everything is going to be okay as you panic about the impending birth of your little one and worry you aren’t quite prepared. I’ll be wishing I could show up on your doorstep with a bottle of wine after bedtime when your toddler refuses to go to sleep. I’ll be wishing I could swoop in to take your kids for a few hours, just so you can get a break.
You’re going to make an amazing mother; I know that because you’ve always been an amazing friend. Someone with your heart and strength and compassion is built for this new role you’re about to take on.
But I wish I were there. Or that you were here. Because while the distance between us has never been my favorite thing, motherhood has a way of making those miles feel even greater. And if I had my way, we’d be on that compound raising our babies sister-wife style instead.