Last night was a wild and crazy evening with my girlfriends. There was a lot of drinking, some bare breasts, and even some upchucking.
A few years ago, a night out with these same ladies would have been precisely as risqué as I just made it sound.
But that wasn’t the case last night.
You see, one of the women recently had a baby, making her my only close friend to procreate. I know this seems odd, considering I’m 35 and the bulk of my friends are my age and married. But for whatever reason, most of my girlfriends have chosen to remain childless. This is my only friend to buck that trend, and since she moved to another state two years ago, it was my first time meeting the baby.
I was nervous.
Babies scare me a little. They cry and I want to cry, too, not knowing what they need. I’m terrified of that soft spot on top of their heads, and the idea that their little brains could be dented.
My friend – serene with the wisdom of new motherhood – offered sage advice. “Don’t poke her in the head.”
In addition to her new wisdom, my friend has now acquired the upper body strength of a prizefighter. I waited all evening for her to collapse from the sheer exhaustion of carrying a small human around the kitchen, but she never flinched.
Nor did she flinch when the baby suddenly did what babies do as we sat reminiscing about the night we got escorted away by concert security for clambering on-stage to dance with Loverboy.
The storytelling stopped as we watched our friend change a diaper with the efficiency she once reserved for polishing off a margarita and a platter of hot wings.
“You know,” remarked another childless friend, “I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone poop that close to me before.”
It’s true, last night was not one of our former wild evenings on the town. But it was no less awe-inspiring.
There are times I feel pretty cool for getting to spend my days creating imaginary people, giving them names and physical features and character traits.
My friend just did that with a real person.
I may be able to drink her under the table now – blame it on the breastfeeding – but I’m pretty sure she now outranks me in cool points. By a long shot.