A year ago, one of my dearest friends, Lisa, knocked on my door to collect me for brunch, a brunch that I was already a few bloody marys into at the restaurant down the block, when her water broke on my porch.
The night before, we had had a big time celebrating the holidays at the infamous annual Dinndorf Holiday Party, complete with:
a costume contest (hint: anyone can win if they put on a good show for the judges during the lineup. One year, a very pregnant Mary won by doing a politically incorrect impromptu belly flop.); a white elephant exchange, where nothing is off-limits. I ended up with a mouse named Patch a few years ago. Later in the night I tried to pay for my Taco Bell with Patch. They rightfully told me a mouse could not be in a food place, but I am pretty sure they were considering it; way too late caroling down a sleepy street, where people are literally sleeping and not as excited to see us as we are to sing for them. One year, we even sang for a quinceañera celebration held at the local VFW party room. They loved us; a visit to the VFW across the street, where we plug the jukebox and shoot the shit with the bartenders, who expect us every year. One year I checked off an item on my bucket list by actually buying the bar a double round of Crown in the form of Patron. When I decided to do this, there were 13 people in the bar. When the bartender stopped pouring shots because she had exhausted all the bottles in stock, over 50 people lined the bar. Turns out, it was Chanel’s birthday party down the hall and when her friends heard some chick was buying everyone a shot of tequila, they came a-wassailing. The original total was something ridiculous, which I was prepared to pay, because there is a price for being an idiot, but my very logical friend Erin just laughed at him and said that no, I was not paying that, and talked him into a much less ridiculous number; townie bar karaoke. We’re so good, it’s bad.
Anyway, everyone gets real drunk, the cabs take us home, and we all meet the next day to piece together the night. Last year, Neil D, husband to Lisa D, had really let loose, and I mean, looser than any goose you will ever meet. After all, that baby was coming in three weeks, this was his last hurrah. He was definitely still drunk the next morning, as Lisa went into labor. Her textual updates consisted more of making fun of his status than anything to do with hers. All the while, we kept drinking, unable to comprehend what was about to happen.
This month, beautiful baby Grace is celebrating making it one whole year in this crazy world, and like many parents do, Lisa and Neil threw her a birthday party. I’ve never really understood parties for babies. Until now. On the outside, Grace is the center of attention, everyone ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over her ridiculous cuteness. But I can’t help but think there is something more to this celebration of life.
I think it’s also a celebration for Lisa and Neil. Yes, that’s right people, we did it. Look Mom! Dad! And the rest of you…we survived 365 days with a child. And she’s still alive! We had no idea what we were doing. We STILL don’t. But look at this beautiful baby. WE DID THAT! I hope they hugged each other and high-fived each other for waltzing into this huge unknown, and coming out on the other end, with a tiny human. A little buddy.
Everyone knows that bringing a child into your life changes everything. But what you hear less of, is how it changes the lives of your friends. But if you have the best kind of friends, like I do, life goes on, only now there’s a baby. Lisa and I do pretty much the same things we always did, with a baby. And she’s kind of all our baby. And when that baby is of age, I will have so many weird, very inappropriate stories to share with her. And while there is no Dinndorf holiday party this year, it’s not Grace’s fault. The Dinndorf’s went and bought a new house and aren’t quite ready to host this kind of party. This year.
Happy Birthday to little Grace, the baby who helped me realize babies don’t always steal your friends. Sometimes they make them even better.