This is for the newest Laura in my life. There are several Lauras, all of whom I value and love deeply. And my mother is Laurie. So you can see where distinguishing them all becomes difficult.
This post is for the Newest Laura, she of blonde hair and three sons and tattoos and no tolerance for nonsense (ahem) bullshit. This is Laura who will knock you out if you cross her, but also crochet the softest blanket you could ever imagine for your baby. This is Laura who will fix you tea if you come over, but send you unceremoniously downstairs if you dare to venture up into her private space before she’s ready.This woman was my friend before I met her. She makes that Instagram post that says “Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, says ‘I’m here for you’ and proves it.” seem absolutely true.
Somehow, from a few chats by the fence while waiting for our kindergarten babies, she got to know me enough to defend me publically against the accusations of a neighborhood busybody that I might be after the busybody’s husband. In the inevitable, Real Housewives-esque drama that ensued, we got to know each other. Laura and I, not the busybody. I uncovered a fascinating woman, one moment all business, the next gazing with incredible tenderness at an infant in her arms, anxious that everything be just right. She somehow never faltered, never waivered, never fell prey to anything anyone said. She had her own opinions, and she stuck to them. I found comfort in that, and in her presence. Laura is who she is. Today, tomorrow, last year, and in a decade. There is a something amazing about that.
One bright January morning in 2014, I was lolling in the house at the mercy of my own terrible brain chemistry. Laura called. Could I come and help hand out pizza at the school? They were in such a pinch. To this day, I don’t know if they really needed help or not. But I do know, as I walked into the school with my arm securely tucked under hers, that I felt better.
This past winter, a terrible argument happened between my husband and I. Some arguments, I think, are okay for children to see. Mommy and Daddy get mad at each other, like lots of people do, but then they make up. This was not one of those arguments. It was furious, dirty, and raw. We were holding onto our shit, just barely, for the sake of our Daughter, but we were losing it, fast, and we were too caught up in our anger to be present as parents. So we called the next best thing, and she came. In what seemed like seconds. When I went to Laura’s house, some time later, my daughter was sitting in her pyjamas in a bubble chair, eating popcorn and playing video games with Laura’s youngest son, who may or may not be my future son-in-law. She had stepped up and stepped in, mothering my daughter when I couldn’t, making her safe and loved and warm on a rainy night, all the things I would ever want her to be.
And you know what? She never asked for thank you. She never asked for explanation. She just sent my baby home with me, hoping things were better, checking in periodically in the days that followed to make sure all was well. I have seen her since, and she really only has a few simple questions, along with a desire to chat about life. A fantastic woman, toiling away in obscurity, with no idea that she is anything but the ordinary suburban mama she thinks she is.
To THIS Laura: For being there for me before we were even friends; for being a mother and wife and person I look up to; for mothering my daughter on the only night I couldn’t, wrapping her in blankets and love; for somehow not being scared off by any of my crazy crap, not any of it, ever; for simply, beautifully, amazingly being YOU…#penguinsforever