Becoming a mommy changed the way I saw my friends. I needed them, and they couldn't be here with me. My children were adorable, but they weren't the stuff that made the universe all speckled and milky.
I had friends. We were in love. We stuck needles into one another; we watched the sun rise from the roof of our rented house. We were dangerous and young. We wrapped up in blankets together and stared at the silhouettes of children walking to school. We didn't sleep. We didn't want for anything. I loved them.
After giving birth to my oldest daughter, I couldn't walk fast enough to make it to the bathroom. I pissed blood all over the floor of the hospital. "I don't want anyone to know," I cried and Kurt got on his hands and knees. My feet slipped in the congealing puddle and I gasped. I was in so much pain, and there was a new little life sleeping sweetly in a clear plastic bassinet a few feet away. I didn't know her yet, she was blotting out the sun. She was everything and I didn't know what to do.
Our friend, one of our beloved ones who carried diamonds in his eyes during the rainstorms of our youth... he left a message on Kurt's phone that say wishing us a happy 4-20.
I couldn't stand without help. Kurt bowed at my feet, bathing in my mess, trying to make me clean. There was a baby in the world. She was cut from me. I didn't know her.
My friends couldn't be there. I could have said, "I'm bleeding and I pissed on the floor and I'm afraid these mean nurses will be mad. I can't walk, I hurt so badly and I have a baby. I am a mother and I can't stand up without shaking. I am a mother and I don't think I can do this." I could have said all of that, but it wouldn't have meant anything.
They came to visit me, to see the baby. She was pretty. She was a mystery. They all went back to their lives and I paced the floor until early in the morning, my fingertips cold and numb, the world shrinking away from me and paling. I cried and went mad; there were purple circles under my eyes. My daughter was a diamond in my palm, she was a pearl from an ancient city buried under the waves. She was magnificent and a mirror where I saw all the hurt I'd stuffed inside me. She was a mirror and I didn't know what I was seeing.
Nobody could be there for me.
My mom and I didn't really get along, but she came and stayed up until 4am with me while I watched infomercials and tried to breastfeed. She held my daughter on her lap, little baby belly to her thighs and rubbed Scout's tiny back. I thought my mother had magic powers. I thought of her as my mother for the first time in my life.
I still had friends, and they were across a great space like a valley with a river.
This post was written in response to a prompt at Write On Edge about exploring friendship. "This week, we’d like you to explore friendship. You can talk about a current friendship or one from your past, a friend you met over kindergarten snacks or happy hour at your first job. Examine your emotional interest in the friendship and the role it plays, or played, in your life."