I have a best friend who everyone wishes was their best friend. Actually, ALL of my besties instill jealousy in others. Not intentionally, I am just one hell of a lucky gal and I have incredible best friends. When I think of the women I have been blessed to have in my life, as my friends, closer than family, I marvel…because I myself am not that great of a friend. My intentions are always good but you know where good intentions lead you…
When I was pregnant with baby #1, I was secretly terrified. I didn’t even know how scared I was. Mainly because I had no birth story of my own. I was adopted so my life began at 5 months old. My mother couldn’t give me any idea what birth was really like or even what MY birth was really like. So, as far as I knew, my stomach was simply swollen. Or possibly I was growing a huge tumor. I was the second in our group of friends to have a baby. Our first friend wasn’t all that helpful at the time because, well, she was taking care of a baby. My girlfriends didn’t really know what to make of the situation. I wasn’t a “kid” person. I wasn’t particularly maternal, like, ever. So, they rallied but we all just acted as if nothing was different. Which was comforting.
My best friend had been through a major surgery just a couple of years before so she was the one who instinctually knew I must be scared. Thinking back, we were just kids. But holy hell were we strong. Friendship really doesn’t cover what we have. This particular best friend is always ready with a laugh. She is the one who makes me funny. She makes anyone she meets feel like they are her best friend. She’s a good egg.
One day we were at my mother’s house. My mom is kind of what Oprah would call a hoarder. She has lots of random things lying around and stuffed in cupboards and tucked into corners, stacked in boxes, pushed up against the walls, on shelves in the garage, you get the idea. It’s heaven for little kids and prop comedians. We were sitting there at the kitchen table discussing plans for who knows what, when all of a sudden my best friend picks up a tiny wooden solider toy from the back of the stove and starts laughing hysterically which makes me laugh hysterically which makes me cry…down my leg. Even when I wasn’t pregnant this was the way our time together generally went. She laughs, I laugh, we pee.
Now we are both laughing so hard we are crying and she starts singing the song from the 60’s by the Shirelles “Solider boy….oh my little solider boy…” ( I should mention here that she has a killer singing voice. Like, she was in a blues band and all, cut a cd…the girl can sing which makes this all the funnier). I know I know, you had to be there. But, we decided that she WOULD be there for the birth of my first baby. I needed her. She would make this terrifying thing I was going through ok. She would make me laugh and remind me that it wasn’t the end of the world. And, she would bring Solider Boy with her. I was supposed to have a focus object for labor and Solider Boy was obviously perfect.
Now we had a plan. My best friend would smuggle Solider Boy in to the hospital in her mouth, cause he fit in her mouth and then pop him out when she got to my room so I could focus! We were still in fits of giggles when we left my mother’s house for the our own houses…ofcourse she called me 10 minutes after she got home to sing the Soldier Boy song on my answering machine which sent me running for the bathroom.
When the blessed day came and I was in my hospital room in writhing, unbearable pain, I wanted my best friend there with me. But the nurses refused anyone to come in! I have NO idea why. Possibly because they were bitches, possibly not. Anyway, I heard the commotion in the hallway and I heard my best friend yell “THEY WON’T LET ME IN!! I LOVE YOU!! WE WILL BE RIGHT OUTSIDE……ME….AND….SOLIDER BOY OH MY LITTLE SOLIDER BOY!!!!!!!” And she walked slowly back to the waiting room singing at the top of her lungs Solider Boy….and I laughed and then cried. 100 years, 3 pain shots and an epidural later I pushed out my beautiful baby girl. My best friend and Soldier Boy weren’t there to witness her first breath but I knew they were there in spirit. I slept and when I woke up, I lifted my head to check on that little pink peanut sleeping in the bassinet next to me and then shifted my gaze to the night stand to see Solider Boy keeping watch over both of us.
In the 18 years since that night, I have moved house a few times, had a couple more kids, been divorced and basically lived a lot of life. My best friend has been living in New York City for the last 15 years. We are still tight. Anyway, I didn’t know where Solider Boy had gotten to. I couldn’t imagine that my best friend would know where Solider Boy was. But recently I was reminded of our Soldier Boy after watching a Seinfeld episode where Jerry, George and Elaine were attending a classical piano concert and were supposed to be very sedate and Jerry put a Pez dispenser on Elaine’s leg and she starts laughing so uncontrollably that she has to leave the concert disrupting the other audience members and ofcourse upsetting the piano player who George was dating. I sent the clip to my best friend and told her this reminded me of us and Solider Boy… did she remember Soldier Boy? She sent me back this:
And………… I peed.