"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
By press time, my friend Tracy will have given birth to a new baby boy. As her due date draws closer, I keep marveling at the changes I have seen in her in the last 9 months, as she transitions into motherhood.
Tracy is a few years older than me, and she has always filled the "big sister" role in my life. From lending me her clothing to introducing me to my husband, she has always gone above and beyond for me, and for all her friends. She is the one who helped in various degrees at everyone's weddings, births, and other life events, throwing parties, giving advice, designing flowers, and more. All of us knew that you could turn to Tracy to figure things out when they got too overwhelming and complicated. I guess you could say she was maternal all along.
However, after she and her husband Bernard conceived, something changed. I first noticed it at the bachelorette weekend we attended of a mutual close friend. Tracy was always up for going out- even though she was the married one, she'd go out with us single girls, staying out until all hours and partying with the best of them. The girl had unlimited energy, at one point holding down two jobs and still managing to cook elaborate meals before coming out for drinks with the rest of us. It was a little intimidating, but we all took it for granted. You could always count on Tracy for a great time.
At the bachelorette party, which was held in Las Vegas, she just didn't seem herself. She was about 3 months along at that point, and barely showing. But I could tell things were different. She was trying her hardest to be her usual energetic, attentive self, but as the day wore on, she was having trouble. As we sat down to dinner, several bars and dancing ahead of us, she turned to me and told me she was feeling kind of sick. She couldn't eat much, and she was having trouble breathing. Most people, at this point, would have excused themselves from the party and gone back to the hotel to sleep. Heck, most people wouldn't have come to Vegas in the first place in her situation. But Tracy was used to putting her friends first.
The next morning, I woke up to Tracy crying. I immediately started tearing up myself -- this was my "big sister" the strongest girl I knew -- I had no clue how to comfort the friend who had always comforted me. She had developed a bad cough during the weekend and was worried that the baby wasn't getting enough oxygen, that she shouldn't have come...all I could do was try and reassure her that the baby would be fine, get her safely into a cab so she could catch an earlier flight, and try not to start bawling myself.
Ultimately, the baby was fine, her cough cleared up, and she started feeling better. But I think that was the turning point. Tracy had to come to terms with the fact that she was responsible for another life now, and her friends had to come second to that. All the love that she'd been distributing among us for all these years now had to go to her child. Watching Tracy turn into a mom has been an incredible experience.
I am so thrilled for her, and for her soon-to-be-born son, who will have two of the world's most loving, wonderful parents. We are so lucky to have the gift of children in our lives. Babies are little bundles of hope, and we need to give them the best possible start in this world. Family Magazines salute the mothers and fathers who are bringing new life into the world every day. Here's hoping that your growing family will be the happiest and healthiest it can possibly be!