I had been waiting to become a mother my entire life: I have always been very maternal and couldn't wait to have children of my own. Unlike many of the narratives of first-time moms that I read these days, Susannah's early months were delightful. I loved each new stage, and treasured my days with her in our little home. Yet I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit that a huge reason that I had such an easy transition into motherhood was...
She lived with us for the first five months of Zuzu's life - what a help that was! I had a pediatric nurse just steps away from my bedroom door, someone to ask about fevers or hiccups, a second set of hands at dinnertime, another set of arms to hold my baby while I took a shower or a nap or a walk. I'm no fool; I know that I had what very few women have today - real and constant support from another woman while I learned to be a mom.
Her friendship fundamentally changed my motherhood, because she was present to me even beyond those five months. For almost two years, nine months, and four days, she has been a near-constant presence in my household. We have shared meals, late nights, heartache, vacations, clothes, cars, and burdens. We were one another's ride to the airport and "I've landed!" text. We have cleaned each other's bathrooms, done one another's laundry, and advised one another on everything from hair color to spiritual struggles. We have fought - with one another and for one another and against the powers of Hell.
From one baby in Italy...
To two babies in my living room...
No one is better at snuggles than Auntie Jen.
And now she's moving.
She's moving to pursue her dream job in our favorite city, Washington DC, and I'm so proud. I am so damn proud of the woman she has become over these two years, nine months, and four days. These years have been transformative for us both - we have, in so many vital ways, started to fully embrace the women we are called to be. She is strong, beautiful, and full of joy. I am in awe of the way she carries Christ to the world and, to be honest, a little envious of her fire right now. I was hoping she'd stick around a little longer so my tiny little ember of zeal that's barely hanging on could catch some of her heat...but she goes where she's called, and I know I'll still be able to see that flame even from here, even from one thousand forty nine miles away.
I'm saying goodbye - goodbye to the woman who has had the greatest impact on my mothering that isn't related to me or the actual embodiment of supernatural grace (that'd be Mary, obviously). I'm saying goodbye to Zuzu's godmother, my children's second mother, the always-set third place at my table, my afternoon visitor, my best friend. Oh, I know, it's not really goodbye - but it's goodbye to this time that has been so savored, so sweet, so precious.
So raise your virtual glass with me to toast this time - this woman - our friendship: here's to the memories that will never fade and new ones yet to be forged, to new adventures yet to be known, to friendship that endures beyond distance and time.