As we stood in a circle outside our high school that day, I knew the future of our friendship and lives would soon be altered forever. With a baby coming into my friend’s life, the future was a blur.
The cool spring breeze that afternoon was quick enough to dry her tears as we ensured her that no matter what happened, we’d all remain the best of friends.
And, even more importantly, no baby could jeopardize her future or well-being. It could only enhance the person she was trying to be.
Or, at least, that’s what we tried to tell ourselves. I think she believed it, though. She took our advice and soared with it.
At this point in our lives, we were ready for something new. By the end of high school, I could see each of my friends had talents they were ready to unleash in their post-secondary endeavors.
There were so many things my pregnant friend was great at. Maybe she needed a push, and I think her baby did it.
When we went our separate ways and started college this past September, I feared for my friend. I bought as many baby clothes as I could and told her how excited I was for the arrival of her daughter.
But, I couldn’t help but wonder if she thought she had made a bad choice.
My friend wasn’t yet financially stable; I knew one day she’d get there, but I couldn’t figure a baby in the equation. It was too much for her, her family and us, as her friends.
Would she continue school? How would she start a family? Was she scared? Lonely?
I like to think back on all this and realize how different my fears were from hers. We all urged her to look into adoption while she accepted the responsibilities that came with motherhood.
She taught me love is unconditional and she was capable of more than I could dream of.
Our bond included a different kind of love. As her friends, she made us Christmas cards and hugged us when we were down. She gave the best advice and kept us company when we were sad or tired.
During those months, she helped me realize we were the nervous, spineless ones. She told us what she thought about her pregnancy and how she would make it into a life-changing event.
Here I am, at a good university, working and trying to understand who I’m becoming.
All these things combined cannot compare to the duties my friend has had to uphold the moment her little bundle of joy entered her life.
My friends and I constantly thought of dilemmas and problems that would surely arise. And, so far, none of what we imagined has come to fruition.
Did we think that just because we were off to school and starting our lives, we would be better than her? Now, I look at her as a more mature, better version of herself.
There's someone else in her life now. And, isn’t that harder than taking care of just yourself?
I still have trouble with this, and I wonder how she manages to love life and to pull it together for this tiny human who looks up to her during every moment of her life.
Of course, we all worry about getting old. We fear becoming exactly what our parents told us not to be, and becoming the people we swore we’d never turn into.
She showed us that even if those mistakes happen, no one is in control of where you end up in life but yourself.
What I get from her situation is this: Instead of having a life-changing decision alter the course of your future, make it your future.
Take what you’ve done wrong and embrace it. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and others will believe in you more than they believe in themselves.
She didn’t grow up because she wanted to, but because she had to. What makes her a bigger person than me is her grace in doing so.
So, when her daughter asks me to about her mother, I’ll speak the truth.
I’ll say she was once this great person I knew. Before she blossomed, she had some troubles and, maybe, she just needed that guiding light. I’ll tell her she was the light that shined upon her.
I’ll tell her to continue to be the illumination her mom needs because her mom is doing fantastically.
And, hey, maybe she’ll be lucky enough to find a friendship as rare as ours. They say blood is thicker than water, but if my friends are my family, I know I haven’t found anything thicker than our friendship.