Back when I was just a mere newlywed I had the pleasure of living overseas with my hockey playing husband. Our first year of marriage was our third year so far from home and I had gotten into the groove of being a “hockey wife.” You travel light years away from friends and family and are somehow lucky enough to have a built in group of girlfriends when you get there. The kind of girlfriends that fortunately, and sometimes unfortunately, know exactly what you’re going through on any given day because of what our significant others do.
This particular year led me straight into the arms of one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I say this in a way that makes this friendship seem a bit like a love affair, because to some degree that’s exactly what it is.
I met Mindi when she was already six months pregnant. (Technically this was the second time we had crossed paths. A story that we continue to tell about the years of friendship we had missed out on.) She was a few years older than me, a few years into marriage, and at a totally different place than I thought I ever wanted to be. Married and pregnant. Whoa.
Over the course of the final months of pregnancy, Mindi and I became the kinds of friends who tell you that you need to take a shower because you stink. Our husbands, thankfully, developed a bromance that made other couples a bit jealous of the friendships we had found. We were four peas in a pod, and it made spending another year away from home bearable. She was the first pregnant person I had ever spent a significant amount of time with in my life. As my husband and I watched our new friends figure this stage of life out it was hysterical, enlightening, confusing, and awesome.
I watched her belly grow, her emotions spike then fall all within a few minutes, I was even there to watch her boil bottle tops, wash infant clothes, and wonder where they would put their newest addition in their tiny Italian apartment. One day past her due date, then three, then a week and finally into the middle of the night in the earliest days of January both of our phones rang. My husband and I woke up wondering what was going on. When we saw the names on the screen we knew a baby was here!
It was a girl. A beautiful baby girl who looked just like her dad. I was at the hospital before 8 a.m. with croissants for mom and to see this kid who, just months before, seemed like such a foreign concept to me.
If it wasn’t for Mindi, her husband, and the following months we spent with a newborn who only pooped when I held her (gaining me the nickname of “Poop Whisperer”), had a witching hour when dinner needed cooking, and smiled big toothless grins at me, I’m not sure when we would have considered having our own little ones. Watching such a great friend become a mom and watching her do it so gracefully proved how possible this life was.
Mindi and her family have since grown by one, adding another crazy little girl who looks just like her dad but with mom’s hair color. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in contact with this person, this unbelievable friend, this amazing mom through five years of cross-ocean living, four kids between the two of us, four hours between current homes, and schedules that sometimes mean we don’t catch up for months at a time. Despite the distance and crazy lifestyles I’ll always remember watching her grow into a mom who can do everything, and have a special place for the girl who helped me know that there’s nothing better than being a mom alongside your best friend.