One of my very best friends had her first baby a few years ago. She wasn’t the first of my friends to breed, but she was my oldest and it was a huge thing.
I was so excited. But I was also just the tiniest bit worried. It would change her. What if we grew apart and I lost my friend? What if she only wanted to hang around with other mothers? What if I just couldn’t relate to her trials and troubles any more? What if she became one of those Baby People who live and breathe their child to the detriment of themselves and their own identity, something I don’t think I could have supported?
None of those things happened, as it turned out. My friend is still my friend, just busier and more smeared with banana.
But something else happened that I hadn’t expected; I totally fell for her kid. I looked at her and I saw my friend, and her partner (who I should add I had a hand in her meeting). I saw their features and their expressions; but I also saw my friend’s dad, and her brother. I saw her partner’s sister. I saw two families in her little face.
I saw, essentially, things that only decades of friendship and familiarity could have made me see. And all my love for my friend extended to her little girl like water spilling into the next of a series of pools.
I don’t even mind when she screams in my ear.
Now my friend’s just had her second baby, just as I’ve had my first, and I found myself wondering if anyone I know was secretly afraid of losing me; and I hope instead that they, too, have found a new little person to love instead.