Transcending Typical Friendship Bonds

Four years ago, a special and very unique friendship developed between me and my friend RO. We both had just moved to the Boston-area so our husbands could attend business school, we were both first-time-moms and our daughters were only four days apart. We became fast friends. We liked each other as individuals, couples and parents; our daughters became one another’s first best friend; we swapped childcare, went on road trips and did many joint-family outings. We regularly dined together, enjoyed frequent game nights, celebrated holidays, and even spent the occasional weekend over at their house, just two miles away. In essence, they became our second family.

Then, in 2008, we started talking about having second children and ended up getting pregnant within a few weeks of one another. Our sons were born at the same hospital just two days apart. It was a profoundly bonding event in the life of a friendship. But a few months after our sons’ births, RO’s husband lost his job and they took it as a sign. They felt it was time for them to return to their roots in Montana, 2,381 miles away. We were crushed. We committed not to let distance alter our friendship nor the bonds of our children.

After they moved, DH and I came to terms with how rare and special our friendship was. On very few other occasions have we met another family with so many similarities and a lifestyle so in-sync  with ours. I was determined to make sure we found a way to stay in regular touch (by Skype, phone, e-mail or post). I also conjured up the idea that our families should get together somewhere on an annual basis. We took the first initiative and went out to visit them on their home turf last summer.

Even though RO and her husband are a few years younger than DH and me, there is something remarkably comforting in the knowledge that people we know and REALLY love are in exactly the same place in life. But also lingering, now that they are close to family again, is the possibility that they might have a third child someday.

Today, RO called and half way through our conversation, informed me they were expecting. Of course I was delighted by the news, of course they are in the right place, the right stage and the right time of life to welcome a third child and yet, I also felt deeply sad. I know that RO reads my blog so bear with me here because the sadness was wholly selfish. Since my personal epiphany, I now know I’m done having kids. While RO’s moving on and adding to her brood, like a family photograph, we’re frozen in place. On future family gatherings, there will always be one unpaired kid and I’ll feel bad about it.

I am overjoyed for our friends and look forward to the day soon when we’ll get to meet their new little one. For now, I’m guessing this year’s family get together is on hold. Well, so much for tradition!

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