Monday, April 09, 2007

pregnant, rounding and beautiful

I mentioned earlier of a bridesmaid who had to gracefully bow out, her due date perilously close to our wedding date. Nikki (one of the seven, pictured above, who sent this picture) boasted she was the first to have her picture taken with the wee one. Here they are above, Mandy sans cigarettes (huzzah to quitting that habit--no small feat!).

Mandy is really the first of people I hold close to my heart to become pregnant. I have known others, met them when pregnant (Lani) or shortly thereafter (Evonne), but no one have I known for long stretches of time before the idea of a baby came along. The closest would be K's sister. Her son, pictured below (courtesy of K's sister via K's mother) is a delight, a very sweet baby who has been a lovely addition to family gatherings. But I only knew her in pieces--quick meetings, stories from K or his parents, and I think it was far more surprising for K to become an uncle (though, in four months and two days, I will be this boy's aunt, clearly by marriage).

I remember when I first met Mandy. We were in 8th grade, and only knew each other because of a friend we shared--Beth, who I went to church with (!), and who was also in our social studies class. This seems typical of everything in our friendship--Mandy and I were friends by coincidence. We were a part of "the herd" in 9th grade, the least likely to go out together on our own, often needing a third, or all five of us together as a buffer (though we did go see Interview with a Vampire together, my first theatre R-rated movie, and definitely a standard bizarre storytelling experience for Mandy). We were fond of each other, but often conversations were forced; it took quiet time and patience for us to edge our way out of the silences and more time to feel comfortable in them, like an old cloak.

In 8th grade, we rode the same bus, and I remember he indicating a passage in a Dean Koontz book, a page or so of smutty description, shocking to me, someone whose parents were wholesome (her own parents once came out to the living room once and nudged the volume on the stereo up, saying we might want to keep that up for a little while, causing us to gasp, then giggle, Mandy nonplussed). I'm glad I hung on, despite the surprise--she has a way with quiet dedication and subtle kindness.

A ream of treasured memories with Mandy: choreographed New Year's dances, the sperm song, silly string, school dances, school plays and roses, our first taste of cheap vodka, trips to Steven's Point (to visit Nikki, of course) and Madison, vampire stories. I think of Mandy, and I think of drag queens, estate sales, racks of thrift store clothing and shoes lined up beneath, Superman and Buffy (the vampire slayer), layers of varying makeup and lip gloss with every taste and tingle imaginable, sexual innuendos and bold narrative, tacky dance clubs and cheap beer, laughter and warmth.

She will be a mother who is honest and forthright, one who is fierce and devoted, one who will tease and have a comfortable kind of love that will be like a roller coaster, but it will be just right that way, perfect.

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