I met Natalie years ago when I was working in corporate America. I would like to say I was a inspiring boss who helped her become an amazing, wealthy writer, but I’m not. Instead she changed her mind halfway through the internship and switched her focus to Physical Therapy. After my fall from the writing world I think her decision wise!
While she did not get a stellar writing career out of this internship, she did gain my friendship. We have been through so much through the years – bad boyfriends, good boyfriends, drunken nights, sober nights, awesome cooking adventures, messy cooking adventures. We got married several months after one another and co-honey mooned to Costa Rica. She got pregnant when I started trying and cheered me on through years of agonizing infertility treatment. She cried with me when I lost Pip. When her reproductive success became more than I could stomach she quietly stepped back and waited for me to come back around.
Last October she easily got pregnant again. She told me later that she sat in the bathroom and cried when she saw those two pink lines, part in happiness for her, and part in sadness for how unfair it seemed to me. Then she read this post and everything changed. We went through pregnancy together and delivered our baby girls (both of whom the gender was unknown) within days of one another.
Natalie and her 3 month old and two-year old came to New York to visit last weekend. The plan was to stay Sunday through Friday and adventure together in the city while the Professor was at work. We had GRAND plans – we would go to the zoo, to Manhattan, to parks and playgrounds and stroller exercise and more! We would show her toddler, C, a grand time in the big city via walking, trains and buses.
Her stay lasted until Wednesday afternoon when we finally came to terms with a huge fact we had both overlooked – our lives have changed and we are no longer the center of them. We have kids. Kids with personalities and needs and wishes of their own, which often do not jive with ours. They are young and delightful and headstrong creatures who when all cry at once it is enough chaos to make the most sane woman pull out her hair. There were a lot of tears – both from babies and mamas.
We went into this trip knowing that it would not ruin a friendship. We were actually aware that things might get cut short due to a fussy baby. However we were not prepared for the nuclear meltdowns we would have. On Wednesday Natalie called in the special forces – her parents from Delaware – so we could have one afternoon to catch up and enjoy one another. That evening Natalie and her kids went back to Delaware for the remainder of their trip.
While the trip was not what we had originally planned, it was still a wonderful time. Co-parenting with my best friend for those few chaotic days was awesome. I am so proud of the strong woman and excellent mama Natalie has become. Her daughters are beautiful, lively and possess so many of her best qualities. We also learned an extremely valuable lesson from this trip: our lives have changed. Things are just different now that we have kids and the things we once did together might not be possible for a while. Our grand trip to Iceland this summer might be tabled for a year or two while our girls grow up a bit. Instead, maybe we will rent a beach house where the girls can all be tossed outside to burn off energy and the parents can get away with not showering for days on end!
Are you ready for the changes parenthood will bring? What changes surprised you in the first months as a new parent? Will you still travel once your baby arrives? Have you traveled? Any tips for two head-strong, busy body mamas so we can avoid future shit shows? 🙂