Full Skirt/Full Circle

24 Jun

This is the true story

of two strangers

talking over the door of a little dressing room in a big department store

on the road to finding out what happens

when friends become family.

***

13 years ago, I was obsessed with MTV’s The Real World, the voyeuristic sensation that allowed viewers to fall in love (or in hate) with real people, as they watched their every move. I was particularly committed to the Chicago season, as a girl from my high school (my husband’s class) was on the show.

What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with one of the characters, Cara, the smart, witty, sharp, gorgeous, fun, well-spoken girl from Boston (to St. Louis) who had killer Carrie Bradshaw hair and the best collection of chunky bead necklaces ever. I used to watch the show and think, “We should be friends.”

6 years ago I accompanied the women in my family on a high end shopping trip, to meet my aunt’s supposedly fabulous personal stylist.

When I walked in, I was floored by the tiny and lithe blond in the black blazer in front of me. It was Cara. My Cara. Real. Like really real.

Cara was working as a personal shopper and stylist, as her husband’s career had brought her to Philly.

Because it was the month before my wedding, my aunt had Cara work with me on styling my rehearsal dinner outfit.

I will never forget, we clicked instantly, as she told me to pair my purple jewel toned Theory dress with turquoise jewelry and strappy flats.

Over the next few years we stayed in distant contact;

We would run into each other and exchange a Facebook message here and there,

but it wasn’t until we were both pregnant, due one month apart and using the same OB, that our relationship amped up a notch.

Cara and I bumped bellies and talked about impending motherhood.
I was so excited when she gave birth to her son, and she was the first mother I called after having my daughter.

I remember being able to confide in her instantly; she was honest and candid, just as she had (has) always been, about how motherhood can be scary and lonely and hard, while also being amazing. When our children were one and two months old, respectively, we had our first baby playdate. We sat on her floor, we nursed, we commiserated. Her son growled at my daughter and my daughter freaked out. It was amazing.

The months passed and our playdates became more frequent. We voiced our shared dream that our children would become real friends someday. We were in this together.

She would call me when her son split his chin and needed stitches. She was walking with me, pushing strollers, when I found out that my daughter needed glasses.

Fast forward many years, many playdates, family dinners, calls, emails, secrets…we both got pregnant again with our second children, just 4 months apart.

When the tech told her at her 20 week anatomy scan that she was not, in fact, having another boy, but instead a daughter, we held hands and wept together with joy. We had become family.

But the greatest gift of all, greater than my late night email buddy or my confidant, is that our children actually became best friends.

They are the two kids who sit in the corner at birthday parties, talking.

They are the kids who say things to each other like, “I love you so much I just can’t stop loving you.”

They are the kids who kiss every new years and say that they are married.

Her son protects my daughter. I am eternally, endlessly grateful.

And now we are both starting again, round two, me with my boy, her with her girl, and now we are both

real mothers.

Yesterday, one of my personal dreams for Cara came true; she was asked to do a segment on Fox 29 Philadelphia’s Morning Show during which she will replicate celebrity’s instagram looks for less, using H&M clothing and accessories. Cara is the most stylish person I know. Her ability to mix high/low is insane. So this segment is perfect for her.

And Cara needed models. So she texted a few of us, and though I am far from a model, I volunteered. Because I wanted to see my girl shine.

Each armed with a stroller and infant, we waded through the awesome aisles of H&M yesterday, as I watched her, totally in her element, pulling looks, making sartorial magic.

I will be “copying” this Jessica Alba look:

jessic-alba-at-mtv-movie-awards-2014-yellow-skirt-by-kenzo-white-boob-tube-crop-top-eco-designer-clutch-bag-bottletop-charity-handbag

***

Yesterday, Cara and I talked over the door of the dressing room, as she held my baby in her arms, rocking her own little girl in her stroller, and it hit me just how far we had come; in life, as people, in our careers, as mothers, and, most of all, as friends.

So, tune in this Thursday morning, why don’t you, so you can see me rock a full skirt, as we have come full circle,

with Cara at the helm of this awesome segment.

***

This is what happens when you stop being polite,

when you clean up each others’ baby spit up

when you call in the middle of the night

when you kiss each others’ kids’ boo boos

and start getting real.

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