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get it while you can

Discussing the joys of parenthood with someone who has children when one does not yet have any of one’s own is not unlike witnessing the highs and lows of a bipolar episode. People will say that having children is the best thing that has happened to them, and in the same breath complain about no longer being able to go out to a movie, enjoy a romantic dinner, or sleep in past sunrise. They’ll talk about being up to their elbows in baby poo and implore you to treasure every moment because kids grow up so darn fast. Not surprisingly, the advice we hear most often from friends with young children is to enjoy our rapidly vanishing free time and get as much sleep as possible while we are still childless. 

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With an apartment in Portland all to herself, S decided to do just that and invited her childhood friend up for a girls’ weekend before D was due to arrive late last Sunday night. S is not one to splurge on spas, but who knows when will be the next time she’ll even think about pampering herself. An icy/hot pedicure, a relaxing massage, and a sumptuous dinner at the Green Elephant — a vegetarian Asian fusion restaurant downtown — and the night was still young.

After the meal, S and her friend headed to a club, where the band that had played at our wedding was headlining a show. The opener was a middling local ska band. Thankfully the second band – a reggae punk group from the same part of Massachusetts where S and her friend grew up – was a significant improvement.

During the set change, a guy sitting on the bar stool next to S leaned over and asked who she was there to see. He looked vaguely familiar and S had an inkling that he was one of the band members so she answered with a smile, “the Beat Horizon.” The guy asked how she knew the band and S replied that they had played at our wedding nearly three years ago. The guy, who turned out to be the drummer, was floored and started asking his bandmates if they remembered playing a wedding.

It was amusing to watch the different band members piece together their indistinct recollections of what for us is our most memorable night together. Some remembered the venue; others talked about having to learn various new songs, including a reggae version of Hava Nagila. One joked with the lead singer that they should add to the set list Tenderly, which they sang for our first dance and clearly never performed again. After reminiscing and catching up, they gave S and her friend some CDs and t-shirts and headed to the stage. S even managed to dance, baby belly and all, and figures this will probably be the last night she stays out past 1 a.m. for a long, long time.

The next morning, S let her friend, who has a 2-year old, sleep in before heading out for a Tex-Mex brunch at Sonny’s. Portland has a vibrant downtown but many stores were closed on Sunday, so S and her friend strolled through the art museum before saying their goodbyes. It was a bittersweet farewell but S knows that her friend will be back for another visit soon. Chubby checks and tiny fingers and toes are more than enough enticement.

A few hours after her friend left, D arrived from Moldova. We’re relieved, to say the least, that the little one did not make his appearance ahead of schedule and that we did not need to Skype D into the delivery room. We’re not sure if it’s ever possible to be ready to become parents for the first time, but now that we’re together and settled into our Portland home, we’re as ready as we’re going to be.

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