“Don’t know what I’d

ever do without you;
From the beginning

to the end.
You’ve always been here

right beside me;
So I call you

my best friend.
Through the good times

and the bad ones;
Whether I lose, or if I win.
I know one thing

that never changes,

and that’s you

as my best friend.”

 

— Brandy

My bestie is having a baby, y’all.

No, literally. By the time I post this, my best friend of over two decades will be the brand new mother of an undoubtedly beautiful baby boy; a boy I will love, dote on, spoil shamelessly, and protect as if he were my own flesh and blood, simply because he is an extension of one of my favorite people in the entire world.

But despite having over six months to wrap my head around the idea—as I watched her morph, and grow, and prepare—and despite my absolute delight over this new chapter, I can’t escape the fact that while it’s the beginning of everything, it is also the end of an era.

Admittedly, I didn’t initially take the news as well as I would’ve have hoped. Not that I was unhappy—far from it—I was just…too stunned to respond with the unbridled joy she deserved in response. In fact, I think her announcement went a little something like this:

Bestie: “Hey! So, I have some news…”

Me: “Oh, really? Do tell!”

Bestie: “Well…I’m pregnant.”

Me: *silence*

Bestie: “Hello???”

Me: “Uhh…yeah. Yeah! Umm…okay! That’s…uhh…amazing!”

Bestie: “Yeah…I’m really excited…”

I know: #FriendshipFail. I’m not proud—especially because this woman is one of most beloved and unconditionally supportive people in my life. If I could do it over, believe me, I would. Because, it should’ve gone more like this:

Bestie: “Hey! So, I have some news…”

Me: “Oh, really? Do tell!”

Bestie: “Well…I’m pregnant.”

Me: *Jamaican air horn, studio audience applause and audible rejoicing* “What?!? That’s friggin’ FANTASTIC! WOOT, WOOT!!! I’m so EXCITED!” *dance break*

Bestie: *laughing* “Yeah! I’m really excited, too!!!”

Me: *too busy singing TLC’s “Baby, Baby, Baby” to respond*

Bestie: *more laughter*

THAT is the reaction she deserved from me. That is the reaction I would’ve gotten, were she the recipient of equally important news from me.

Trust: I’ve gotten there since—even managing to co-host a pretty bangin’ baby shower. But I will always regret that that wasn’t my initial response, because I WAS excited, and it IS amazing. But, in spite of the obvious appropriate response, I did exactly what you’re NOT supposed to do in pivotal, life-changing moments: I made it about me.

Again, I’m not proud.

Why did I do that? I mean, it’s not as if I didn’t know parenthood was a possibility; she’s been partnered for years now, and has openly discussed potentially having children. And yet, it always seemed so far from our reality—even as we approached our 40s—continually watching our peers pair off and/or become parents…

But as of today, she’s a parent, too. Ay, there’s the rub (shout-out to Shakespeare).

Because you see, we grew up together (maybe it’s more accurate to say we became adults together, since we met at 18 and 19, respectively). Legend has it that some 21+ years ago, as a sophomore at college, I stumbled on my way home from a campus party—likely more than a little tipsy, and equally heartbroken (my, how things haven’t changed). She—a freshman walking across her new campus with her new friends—saw me fall a few feet from the entrance to my dorm, and rushed to my side to help me up.

We’ve been best friends ever since. And as much as I hate to admit it, she’s never stopped helping me up off the ground. She is my touchstone. She is my grounding cord.

Maybe that’s why I reacted to her news with hesitation, rather than the jubilation it deserved: because she has been watching over me for two decades now; ensuring that if and when I fall, I never stay down. Admittedly, it’s selfish as hell, but all these years—these decades—we’ve spent growing up together; bearing witness to graduations, relationships, triumphs, failures—both professional and personal—goals, dreams, gains and losses, we have always been in tandem. We’ve always been partners, in some sense; always on equal footing, ready to validate and commiserate, as needed.

But now, she has eclipsed me—perhaps forever, since (to put it lightly) I’m uncertain about whether I’m destined to be a parent. This is not something we can share, or empathize about. It’s a threshold I may never cross; the single understanding we may never reach. And while I know she is not lost—not ever—I miss her already…even while she’s still here.

So, in that moment, when my bestie announced her pregnancy to me—a blessed event, without question—I admittedly felt a pang of jealousy. Not the jealousy you’d expect between friends of a certain age, when biological clocks are expected to tick and motherhood is on the menu; when lives are expected to shift and change…

No. Shamefully, I felt a bit envious of my new possible godchild. I envied the unconditional love, acceptance and devotion I know will cradle his very existence. I envied him HER; knowing full well she would never just be my best friend again (or anyone’s daughter, sister, partner or colleague). Because from now on, she would always be “Mommy” first.

And even though that is as it should be, it doesn’t make it an easy adjustment.

Flashback to a couple of months ago: We were walking through Tribeca, retracing a route we’d walked many times as much younger women, half a lifetime ago. On a random street corner, I stumbled again; this time, nearly toppled by a rush of memory—of energy—from our former lives, suddenly recalled.

I remembered us there, many moons ago, full of hope, daring, uncertainty, and possibility.

At that moment, I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. I burst into cathartic and embarrassed tears, right there on the street. As usual, she—already blooming with child—held me up: ever supportive, ever empathetic, keeping me safe—even from the tide of my own irrational emotions.

Which is exactly why she is so well-suited to this new role: because she possesses a quality that comforts. She soothes; she reassures; she affirms. She is much like the mother I’m already blessed to have—the mother every child should be so lucky to have. Maybe—in her maturity, and my perpetual childishness—we have been grooming each other for this moment all along.

Or maybe the truth is that it’s my turn. It’s my turn to be the one who supports; to be the one to watch over and stand vigilant, as life shifts radically on its axis. Perhaps I am now the touchstone; the grounding cord who reminds my bestie of who she is, outside of mother and partner. Perhaps it is my turn to help her off the ground, should she ever fall.

And you know what? I’ll be that—happily. It is my duty, and my pleasure.

So, in acceptance of our new roles as Mommy and (perhaps perpetual) Auntie, I want to offer this blessing to my very best friend, on the day of her graduation into motherhood:

I have never doubted you. Not for a minute.

Not when you told me I was brilliant, or beautiful, or one of the smartest people you’d ever met; powerful beyond my own imaginings.

Not when you said he didn’t deserve me (every single one of them); or when you said I should demand more from life.

Not when you helped me heal wounds that had been open far too long, or when you helped me escape new dangers, relatively unscathed.

I have never doubted you.

And I want you to know that I don’t doubt you now.

I will never doubt your ability to parent, and to guide, and support, and to love completely.

I will never doubt your ability to raise a man who embodies the best hopes we have ever had for mankind.

I will never doubt your goodness or your wisdom, or your grace; and I will never cease to admire them.

I will never doubt that even in motherhood, you will remain my friend—my very best friend—and that we will always keep that space sacred for each other.

Because you are brilliant, and beautiful, and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met; powerful beyond your own imaginings.

You are magic.

I have never doubted you. I will never doubt you.

Holy sh*t, y’all. My bestie just had a baby. It’s the end of an era…and the beginning of everything.

  • Cali

    Love this, love you. No shortage of people to help you up (me among them) if an occasion arises that the Bestie needs a beat to be Mommy in that moment. Congratulations to her — but also to you. Growth is fun, isn’t it? 😉

    • Mai

      Fun, and frightening. Love you, too.

  • Elizabeth Graham

    You response to your friends was selfish, but incredibly true and understandable. I was the first in my group to have a child. We made vows that we would stay close, but the truth is, we didn’t. Everytime I was invited out, I would forever have the trump card excuse ” I have a baby, you don’t understand”. And that was true. Anyone that would to combat that would automatically look like a douche. So as a result, our relationships changed, and some are non existent. Now that my child is older, and I’m shouting where my girls at, all I hear are echos. I see why there would be jealousy with a new baby, because that baby does come first and friends can get lost in the cracks.

  • Mr_Jay_Lutz

    Admire your willingness to say the things that most are obviously thinking under similar circumstances. As a 40+ year old single black male it is insightful to understand the insecurities and strengths that women face. Women often think that men wouldn’t understand or find interest in issues that you are addressing in the blogs but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are those of us that are interested in the insecurities not to exploit them but to help you as well as ourselves with being transparent with our partners by embracing the vulnerability as a strength and not as a perceived weakness.

About the author

Who me? I’m just your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow a cup of sugar?

But seriously: I’m a musician, model, writer, all-around creative and devoted auntie. Like you, I’m just out here in the universe, trying to make it happen…whatever that is.