Stephanie and Jody were both co-workers of mine. Jody left my office in 2005 when she was about to have her first child; Stephanie left in 2006 to move to another State agency. Let’s see how much has changed since then –
Jody now has 4 children – three girls, one boy – and is still a stay-at-home mom. This amazes me. Stephanie left the Division of State Documents – the agency she left Legislative Editing to join – after 1 year and now works for a federal contractor as an editor (I think). She has one daughter – Shannon – who will be 8 in a week. My, how time flies.
Jody and Stephanie and I make it a point to get together whenever time allows to have dinner – just the three of us, no babies, no husbands, no other distractions. It is no doubt that we annoy the hell out of the servers who wait on us because it always takes us a good 30 minutes before we have even opened up the menus after we first sit down. Typically there is a good span of time between meetings, so we have a lot of catching up to do. It’s always fun to hear what each child is up to – and reassuring to know that it’s not only my child who is doing the weird stuff.
Stephanie is a single mother who has raised her child, for the most part, on her own. This amazes me. As a single mother she has managed to buy a home and pay her bills while taking good care of her child. This is something I could not accomplish by myself for myself, much less for me and another person. Her strength is amazing.
Jody and I were pregnant during the same time period. Of course, this isn’t something you would have known – either by looking at us or by listening to us. I was, per my usual style, as big as a house. Jody – as anyone who knows her can imagine – didn’t look pregnant until she was about 2 weeks from birth. I, of course, complained nonstop; Jody, naturally, dealt with the pregnancy like nothing unusual was happening to her body. She is, what I like to call, a baby machine.
Her third child, Bennett (the only boy!) had severe food allergies that limited his diet to only breast milk. The sacrifices Jody made for this child in her own diet were sacrifices I’d like to think I would make, but I just don’t know. Whatever she ate affected his body. So she couldn’t eat most of what she liked for quite some time. That’s love and devotion.
Our dinner dates are nothing less than giggles, dessert, and catching up. Each of us has experienced tragedy, each of us has experienced triumphs, and each of us has a funny story to tell – typically about our children. And when we get together for dinner, we listen, we laugh, we comfort, we hug, and then we say good bye. And though it may be another 12 months before we see each other again, we know that it will be the same dinner date as the last – laughter, dessert, conversation, and happiness. And it’s hoped that it continues for many, many, MANY years to come.