Have you ever prayed so hard for a friend and, rather than work in mysterious ways, the Lord just plops one directly in your path? It’s nice when that happens- isn’t it? I had three- yep THREE –dropped in my path when I desperately needed them most.
My hubby was deployed and I was a very (VERY!) pregnant first-time mama. I had decided to move home with my parents for the first few months of my son’s life until my husband returned. I hadn’t ‘lived’ in New Jersey since high school. Other than my family, I didn’t really stay in close touch with anyone from my hometown. Everyone seemed to have moved, changed, drifted, or just plain left. I was so lonely. Further, most of my friends weren’t moms yet. I was scared, a little overwhelmed, and a lot preoccupied with nursery decorations. I just wanted a fellow mama to walk through life with me.
First came Kaitlyn. I remember clear as day awkwardly staring at her during my first bible study meeting in New Jersey. She looked alarmingly familiar but I was also certain I hadn’t ever met her. Strange thing was, she was looking at me with the same exact expression. After Bible study we got to chatting- turns out that we had mutual friends in high school (different towns) and had seen each other in our friends’ photos/ heard of each other from them. Our due dates were less than a month away – both our firsts! – and um, she was just awesome. Instant friendship. No seriously, we went to the diner immediately afterwards, ate like only women in their third trimester can, and chatted for hours.
We walked through those first months of mama-hood together. The anticipation before the due date. The first days home. All the ‘figuring out’ we didn’t even know we had to figure out. Bouncing ideas, dreams, and concerns off each other. Kaitlyn was there with her three week old newborn walking my I’m-pretty-sure-I’m-in-labor-and-need-to-take-a-brake-at-each-driveway bootie around the block the night before I went in to have Clark.
Then came Tammy. I had seen Tammy and interacted with her briefly before she dropped dinner off for me the week after having Clark. I was exhausted, emotional, and wondering if I was doing this mothering thing all wrong. She brought chicken. And told me she pain-stakingly cut any ‘gross’ parts off of it before cooking it. If any of you know me, that’s basically my love language! She stood in my parents’ entryway for well over an hour, insisting that she “just wanted to stop by!” (I promise I tried to coax her into a chair!), but couldn’t leave because she was too busy bestowing encouragement, laughter, and straight up kindness.
Remember how I said I was exhausted? By that I mean- so tired all I EVER thought about was sleep? So tired I forgot to eat? (And shower??) Well, Tammy (seriously the biggest sweetheart!!) would invite me over. She’d tell me she made lunch. And she’d hold my baby. It may not sound like a lot- but to a, basically, solo parent… it meant EVERYTHING. Tammy was so cheerful, relaxed, and encouraging that my heart couldn’t help but fill each time we spent time together.
Last, and certainly not least, came Christy. Straight up- Christy is waaaaaay too cool to be my friend. Seriously. She is a gorgeous fashionista with the loveliest personality. A heart of gold. And a son the same age as mine. We joked that Clark and Lucas were each other’s ‘first friends’. Two adorable little boys that we entertained in tandem so us mamas could chat about life. Christy always made me feel an odd sense of calm while simultaneously making me believe that my biggest dreams were attainable.
I prayed with these three ladies- for us, our marriages, our children, and the future. I dreamed, planned, laughed, cried, confided in, and just moseyed a day away with each of them. I’m EXTREMELY grateful that the Lord ‘plopped’ them in my life (and quickly into my heart) precisely when I needed them most. Although I’m back in New Jersey and distance makes it harder, I feel a lifelong heart connection to these amazing mamas. These women of the Lord who befriended a stranger and impacted her life for the better <3
My memory of Allie:
One summer night we went to the Lake George drive in movies. We arrived late and had to pull into the very first row of cars and look straight up to see the movie. But the movie we happened to be seeing, War of the Worlds, had aliens flinging cars everywhere and our sitting so close actually made the movie startlingly realistic.
We had run the AC the entire time. Who knew that kills a car battery?? And when it was time to leave - we couldn't. The car next to us said they'd be willing to jump our car but didn't have cables. So we set off on a mission to find jumper cables. Allie, obviously being the outgoing, personable one, bounced from car to car, a smile on her face the whole time. The locals were surprisingly unhelpful. I mean, how could you say 'no' to Allie?!? Finally someone offered some up and we went on our way. During the drive back Allie started laughing realizing that she had phrased the question "Will you jump us?". I was oblivious how at the time that could have been perceived as off-color, but her sudden realization made us laugh the whole drive home. (and helped us forget how we had been temporarily scared of aliens...)
Behind the Lens:
Jessi lives near Rochester, NY with her handsome hubby and their three 'Lovebugs'.