Friends Since Day 1
It all started when we (the parents) met in the maternity triage at the hospital.
While waiting for our Labor & Delivery room assignments, B and I sat across from another couple, Molly and Chris. Looking back on this day, we all appeared to be relatively calm, considering the circumstances - a room of anxious people, some pacing, some moms coming in ready to give birth on the spot and all. At some point, B and Chris exchanged numbers to keep each other posted on the mamas and babies. The following day, each baby was born; Molly and Chris's son, Jackson, arrived in the morning, and our boy, Mason, arrived in the early afternoon. Both boys were in the NICU. They were even stationed next to each other at the beginning of their stays (what were the odds?!). B and I would tell Mason about his buddy, Jackson, and that they were both making great progress. Most importantly, both boys graduated from the NICU within the same week. Absolutely amazing! Mason and Jackson were pals before they even met.
As the mamas continued to recover and the babies adjusted to their homes, B and Chris stayed in contact. While we're in different households, it kind of felt like we were in this whole new world of parenthood together. Mason and Jackson are the same age, so having fellow NICU parents - plus, the fact that Molly and Chris are truly wonderful people - on similar pages throughout their development is very helpful and reassuring. We've remained friends ever since the boys were born and have gotten together a few times. Recently, Jackson and his parents came over for a visit - a playdate! We'd all seen each other a month or so before the pandemic and social gathering restrictions, so clearly, the boys have grown a lot since then!
The last time we'd seen each other, Jackson had already mastered sitting up on his own. Meanwhile, Mason still needed support and was rolling all over the floor (I still get a good chuckle remembering this). At the time, we only lived a few blocks away from one another, so it was great to have friends so nearby. I remember watching Mason and Jackson just stare at each other, sometimes smile or let out a little coo. It was fun to wonder if they knew that they're the same age and were neighbors in the NICU, or if they even realized, Whoa! This is another baby like me!
As the social gathering restrictions came about, we were super bummed that we couldn't get together with our friends for a while. But of course and understandably so, it's way better to stay safe! Since our last get together, the boys each reached milestones from having different types of food, getting into bedtime routines, pulling themselves up to stand, and the never-ending exploring of their worlds. When we recently reunited, it was incredible to see them both walking. As Mason and Jackson babbled as they played and moved around, we (the moms and dads) couldn't believe how far our boys have come. And now they're TODDLERS!
Jackson, a lover of all things trucks, was very kind to share his cool green truck with Mason. Mason had never played with a toy truck before and was quickly obsessed with it. Mason has a big comfy chair in our living room, which Jackson sat right in so confidently and looked so cozy! While our boys aren't quite at the stage yet to actively play together, they'd each play with a toy, check-up on one another then go back to their own play mode. Looking at Mason and Jackson today, we can't feel anything less of pure happiness and gratefulness—two NICU grads, now two super busy toddlers.
I'm so thankful for our families' friendship. It's one of a kind to have another family empathize with what we all went through from the NICU to now. I love that every time we've gotten together it feels like our conversation just left off from the last time, despite the amount of months that have gone by between visits. I look forward to the day that B and I can tell Mason (with him fully understanding) about how far back his friendship goes with Jackson. Can't get any more "friends since day 1" than that!