Kimi and I have been friends since we were children when we met at summer camp. We looked enough alike then that we got mistaken for sisters. It suits us, because in so many ways we are soul sisters.
We have laughed until we cried, cried until we laughed, stood in the other's wedding doing both of these things. We have shared a crises of faith and bounced back again. Many of my very favorite memories are with this person.
Kimi married a boy from our summer camp the year after I moved to California. No one deserves to be parents more than these two. They have a gift with children that I envy. For awhile it seemed like we might become mothers right at the same time. But the adoption was delayed a little, and four months after Pigtail was born they flew to Ethiopia to bring Branch home.
My trip to the Heartland last week was centered around a party they threw in the little guy's honor. Branchfest was, by all accounts, a major success.
This was the announcement. I received it in the mail weeks ago.
(I was, of course, immediately in love with the art of it. It arrived in a tube. The paper is heavy and textured. Kimi is nothing short of a design genius.) It was hanging as a welcome sign, and also framed in the living room. I will be framing mine, too. A simple black frame. Besides the fact that it just looks cool, it is reminder of this blessing, of all these prayers answered.
Custom wine labels, globes, and airplanes.
Cupcakes with animal toppers, displayed over a map.
It was hard to get a picture of the Man of the Hour himself, as you can judge by the blurry top shot. He was a busy bee, entertaining and charming every guest. I was more than happy to introduce Kimi to Pigtail, though.
This is a layered story, how she got there, how gentle she was with my own conception. Years of emotion came pouring out. I could not pull it together. It was embarrassing for all involved, how I managed to make it about me by my blubbering when all I wanted to do was celebrate her.
In her steady way, she was gracious with me as only a friend of twenty years can be when someone is absolutely losing it in the middle of your party of 130 guests.
After a few minutes, Pigtail started crying or Branch ran amuck, I don't remember. We both had to turn away.
To be mothers.