Friday, June 6, 2014

Flashback Friday - The Maternity Clothes that Started it All

In the Fall of 2009 I found myself at an after-school meeting for our Elementary Green Committee. My fellow third grade teachers and I had agreed to spearheaded this PTA committee the prior year and were stoked about working with members of our parent and student community who felt equally as passionate about reducing waste and recycling. If memory serves me correctly, aside from the four of us teachers, there were two other people who attended our meeting. Not exactly the turnout we'd expected.
I had recently announced to my close colleagues that I was pregnant (FINALLY!!!) and after we had swiftly gone through our agenda and one of the parent attendees had left, our conversation turned to the very exciting topic of my growing baby bump.
 Yes, there was a new Kindergarten parent still present, but I was in my first trimester, and altogether too excited to really pay much attention to the adorable woman who sat there knitting throughout our meeting, let alone worry that she might tell any other parents before I was ready to announce the news.
I like to think that it was my intuition about her, rather than my oblivious and almost delirious state of newly pregnant that led me to confide in her, that yes I was pregnant, about 8 weeks, but I wasn't telling the majority of our school community for at least another month.
The next day, she showed up in my classroom with a grocery bag of maternity clothes in hand. (Paper, from Whole Foods if you're wondering. She was a member of the Green Committee after all.) Taking a long look at her fit, athletic frame, I said I doubted anything would fit my ever growing figure, and laughed disbelievingly when she assured me they would. I graciously accepted the bag and I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks later when I pulled out a pair of black Old Navy Maternity pants, identical to the two non-maternity pair that I could no longer button, hanging in my closet, and lone and behold they fit perfectly. As did a fantastically comfortable sweater/sweatshirt and two of the three tank tops that were in the bag.
The fantastically fitting, black pants are LONG gone - wore a hole right through the knees, but I
uncovered this gem in the box of maternity clothes I was selling at my latest garage sale.

These articles became staples of my pregnancy wardrobe and although I couldn't remember her name, and I'm not sure if I recognized her if/when we passed in the hallways I frequently thought of that adorable kindergarten mom who gave me maternity clothes out of the blue or "Maternity Clothes Mom"(MCM), as I called her in my head.

Flash forward to the Summer of 2011

Having moved to Rochester in preparation for returning to work part-time in the fall, Josh and I happily set up a new Saturday morning routine.  It was summer, and venturing to our local Farmer's Market, eating breakfast downtown, and then heading to the library became our favorite way to spend a weekend morning with our energetic and delightful 14 month old daughter.
Although Rochester had previously been my home for almost 20 years, and I had worked in the community for 7, I hadn't been a resident since 2003. In preparation for taking up residency in Rochester, I'd begun following a local online newspaper site via Facebook that often shared articles and entries from local bloggers and residents. I was fascinated by the dialogue happening on the website, and was intrigued when I vaguely recognized one of these locals as "MCM."
I began following her blog posts and really liked what I read. We shared alarmingly similar opinions on a variety of topics and I found her ability to express an opinion in a manner that was both honest, respectful, and humorous very appealing.
Rochester is a large, but tight community. Everybody you meet, knows at least 5 people you already know. It's kind of incestuous that way. So it was of very little surprise to me when I began to see "MCM" at the Farmer's Market. Having recently read something she'd written for The Patch I wanted to share my appreciation for what she had handled the feedback from readers. I wanted to tell her that I saw where she was coming from and people that didn't were basically idiots. It's funny to me now that I have no idea what she wrote about or even if I ended up talking to her about it at the market that day.
As we continued to run into each other frequently, "MCM" now thought of by her actual name, Amanda, and I became friendly acquaintances.
Once school began I saw her frequently in the halls, stopping to share friendly greetings, but I was so consumed with returning to work that pursuing a friendship wasn't high on my priority list. At some point that fall, I had arranged an appointment at a local consignment shop and needed assistance in getting the large amount of baby stuff out of my house. Having exhausted my limited transportation options, I sucked up my pride, and accepted one of Amanda's many offers to give me a ride.

Adjusting to my lack of independence was still very challenging for me, but our conversation flowed easily and I felt my awkwardness and worries about being an inconvenience fade. Especially, after Amanda made a blind joke.
I don't recall it word for word, but it was definitely a deliberate crack about me not being able to see something we passed on the street. As soon as the words escaped her mouth, she began to apologize. I laughed. Really, truly laughed. I may have even snorted.
I was forever cracking jokes about my vision, often making others feel uncomfortable, but I wanted, no NEEDED people around me who could laugh at the absurdity of my visual circumstances.
That joke, and her incessant worry that she offended me, solidified that she was indeed the type of person I wanted to have as a friend.

A few weeks later, Amanda helped me pick up Emy from daycare and was driving us home. In the 1 1/2 mile ride from the daycare to my house, my beautiful 16 month old daughter puked all over herself, her car seat, and the back seat of Amanda's husband's car. I was mortified. Being a mom of 3, Amanda was so calm and reassuring, completely unfazed by the disaster zone Emy had created.
Near tears I offered to pay to have the car detailed, and Amanda flat-out refused. In fact, she was going to take my car seat home with her and clean it out there so I could take care of my filthy, frightened, hysterical child.
That sealed it. There was no going back. From maternity clothes, to blind jokes, to cleaning up my kid's puke, Amanda was officially my favorite person on the planet. 2 1/2 years later she remains so.
I could go on and on about how lucky my family and I are to have her and her clan in our lives, how our friendship has helped heal broken pieces of myself in ways that have left me better than before, how we are so similar and in sync at times we have determined we may actually share a brain.
I could explain and elaborate on all of these and many more elements of our very quirky and close friendship, but I won't. I don't need to gush any more than I already have.
You get it. She gets it. And to think it all began with a paper bag of maternity clothes.

Yoga Retreat in Ojai - April 2014

Do you have a friendship that started in an unusual way? Take a trip down memory lane and share your story in the comments below. Or send me an email, I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. This is so sweet! I love the story, and the crack about blind jokes. I'm totally with you on that one. I love how you guys became friends years after the initial gift giving. Friend stories are the best.