I do not have a funny tale today, or a freelance horror story like the last post, or a social commentary like the one before that. What I do have today is laundry. Time sensitive laundry since the 4 year old wet the bed last night. But before I get started in earnest on that, I wanted to come and tell y'all a little story about these 2 awesome "older" ladies that I met last week.
Last week, I had to go to the doctor...the LADY doctor. I hate going to the gynecologist. It is my least favorite appointment of the year. Any appointment that involves a paper sheet and stirrups just sucks. I was a new patient so I got there really early to do all of the necessary paperwork. I had to ask the receptionist where to list the birth of my last child since there was only room for 3 on the form. When I sat back down to finish, I noticed these 2 ladies staring at me.
I was not in the mood to be friendly. I was at the gynecologist. But I smiled back at them, I can be polite without being friendly, I thought. This was the cue that they had been waiting for apparently: as is the norm in my life, I am a "Chatty Cathy" magnet.
"When are you due?" one of them said with a smile.
Yep, I am not pregnant. Nor have I been pregnant in nearly 5 years. So I looked up at them both smiling expectantly and said deadpan "July, 2008." (Which was when my youngest was born.)
This took a second to sink in, and then they apologized profusely and laughed hysterically. Then they asked about my kids.
"You have FOUR kids?" the graying brunette asked in amazement.
"Um, yes." I replied a little tersely.
"My, my -- I could not imagine. We both had 2. Not together, of course. Hahahaha." the obviously expertly dyed blonde said.
I offered a wilted smile, hoping that we weren't about to become best friends or something.
"We're best friends." (were they reading my mind??!) "We've been best friends since grade school. We married best friends, we live on the same street, our oldest kids married each other." the blonde offered up.
"I guess we're sort of attached at the hip." reaffirmed the brunette and they both giggled like school girls.
My paperwork now finished, I was intrigued by this pair. What were they doing here together at the gynecologist together?? So, with nothing to lose, I asked "So, do you both have appointments today?"
"Yep, but we do go to separate exam rooms." And there was that school girl giggle fit again.
"So besides being incredibly fertile, what do you do?" The brunette asked.
"Yes, do you work outside of the home? I imagine that with 4 kids you have your hands full." inquired the blonde.
"I do have my hands full, but I am a writer. I work from home, usually in my pajamas, surrounded by kid clutter and laundry."
This piqued their interest.
"Steamy romance novels?" smirked the brunette, "I don't suppose the stork brought those 4 kids." followed by another chorus of giggles.
"Um, no." I laughed nervously. These two were a lot more feisty than they appeared in their coordinated fashions from Cato. "I doubt that my romance novels would be very good. All of my characters would end up pregnant by the third chapter. Mostly I write content for web pages."
"Oh. That sounds sort of boring." the brunette said disapointedly.
"Well, I also have a personal blog where I share funny parenting stories and satirical social commentaries." I said, hoping to redeem a little of the coolness factor. "And I've written some children's books; but they've been rejected by every publisher I've sent them to."
"Maybe you should try romance novels" the blonde responded. "Does your blog have a lot of followers?"
"A few," I said. "I quit watching the numbers because it makes me crazy. I have a little over 3,500 followers on Facebook though."
"So let me get this straight -- you just write down what happens during your life as a mom, and strangers read it? What for?" the brunette asked. The concept of a blog seems to have confused her a little.
"Yeah, well, other parents read it. It either reminds them of the days when their kids were young, lets them know what they have to look forward to, or it makes them feel normal by knowing that they aren't the only ones dealing with parenthood insanity."
"Parenting is many things, but there is no 'normal' when you're dealing with kids," the blonde offered.
I gave them the address for the blog, and we talked about some of the stories I had written. They were obviously est friends -- they finished each other's sentences, speaking in tandem, a perfect rhythm of years together. But still I wondered -- the gynecologist? Together? I have some really great friends that I love to spend time with, but I prefer to face the stirrups alone. I had to ask because I am nosey: "So, why come to the gynecologist together? It seems an odd choice for a girl's day out..."
They smiled at each other and tilted their heads like there was some secret between them. Something that they were going to tell me, but I would never fully understand.
"Five years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer." the blonde said.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I said, now sort of regretting that I had asked.
"She was here alone when they found it, alone when they told her 2 weeks later and explained the treatment options, and alone when she had to tell her husband." the brunette said patting her friend's leg.
"Well, I am an adult..." the blonde began.
"But you're my best friend. You shouldn't have been alone. And since I wasn't here, you didn't tell me until after they confirmed it. You carried that for nearly a week by yourself, and then you had to tell [your husband, your kids] and then me." I felt like I had intruded into something private between these two...
"I beat it, though," the blonde said to me with a smile and clasping her friend's hand still on her leg.
"Yes you did." the brunette said.
"She came to every appointment after that. She stayed in the hospital with me when I had surgery, sat with me through chemo, even sat on my bathroom floor and held my head over the toilet while I got sick."
"Just like college," the brunette said, and the school girl giggles were back, but both of their eyes were glassy.
"Anyway, when you are old ladies like us, there is always a chance that they might find something. We don't take any chances. Ever since my cancer, we schedule our appointments together -- gynecologist, mammograms, even eye doctor and dermatologist. That way, we never have to face bad news alone. After each appointment, we go out to lunch or to dinner and have a drink to celebrate another good report, until the day that we need the drink to face what lies ahead." The blonde seemed almost wistful. "Besides, its not like [our husbands] want to come with us."
"No, they don't have time. All that golf won't play itself."
And they laughed again.
I found that my eyes were a little full too, threatening to overflow when I smiled at their jokes.
I was called back shortly after that. They said that they would check out my blog and I told them that I may write about them. They were gone when I got out. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them. What a testament to friendship.
I hope that I am that kind of friend.
I want to be that kind of friend.
And I hope that I have friends like that who will be there for me.
I think that I am blessed with more than one.