When I was growing up my mother had a very uptight friend. (She is not anyone you would know or remember or anyone who would be reading this blog so don’t start trying to guess who it is.) Her house was always perfectly arranged, beautiful yet unlivable and uncomfortable. I could never breathe sitting on her designer couches and trying not to accidently break anything, or get anything dirty.
She was always dressed immaculately. Her belt matched her shoes, matched her handbag. Her earrings matched her necklace, matched her bracelet. She looked like she walked right out of a store window, perfectly coifed and as lifeless as a mannequin. She freaked me out.
Then she had a baby.
We went over to visit her and her newborn. Interestingly enough, I don’t remember a man. If she had a husband or not…actually the more I think about it I do remember her having a husband, but he was more like a decorative mantle piece than a person.
We walked into WWIII. Ok, it wasn’t that bad actually. It looked like my bedroom usually looks, with piles of clothes on the floor and an unmade bed, but the contrast to pre-baby house and post-baby house was that dramatic. My mom’s friend was a complete mess. Unruly hair, which had not been washed, let alone combed in days and, most shockingly, my mom’s friend was still in her pajamas…AT TWO IN THE AFTERNOON!
At first I thought, wow she’s really let herself go. I almost began to feel sorry for her.
Looking back now though, I wonder if she felt some sense of relief, as if it was finally ok to stay in her pajamas all day and not get dressed. As if her baby put life into perspective. In truth, the baby matters way more than the little things…what’s a little bright orange carrot puree stain on the sofa matter when you are holding the child you birthed in your arms? I’d like to think this way, but knowing my mom’s friend she was probably about eight seconds away from a panic attack and a full anxiety break down because her bathrobe didn’t match her bath slippers…that’s funny but not true. She did actually seem more relaxed. And approachable…and for the first time I thought of her as beautiful. It didn’t matter what label was on her clothes or pajamas, she was glowing in motherhood.