Monday was St Patrick’s Day as many of you know. A day of boozing it up, wearing green, partying hard and a great excuse to eat green eggs or drink green beer. Millions of people go out to celebrate this holiday.
But did you know that St Patrick’s Day is a day of observance for those in Ireland? The 17th of March is the date that St Patrick died. Also, his color of choice was BLUE, not green! Oh, and the 4-leaf clover? Not the symbol of Ireland, which is a harp! Corned beef and cabbage? Not even an Irish dish! And research shows there were no snakes in Ireland, so the little known fact of him scaring all snakes out of Ireland is moot. Hell, historians believe that Patrick was NOT Irish either.
Let me guess, I just ruined the holiday for you, huh?
Well, the holiday means more to me than just a day to get drunk. The 17th of March is also now the day that a very dear friend of mine gave birth to her first child!
Carrie and I go way back, and I mean WAY back. I very distinctly remember a 3rd grader (wearing a purple horse sweatshirt) coming up to my 4th grade self, asking if I could punch her brother who was in my grade. Couldn’t have a better first memory, Carebear ❤
Fast forward to high school, where we started actually hanging out more. Carrie was the one who took me to Culvers for every pregnancy craving (MMMMMM Strawberry cooler, anyone?). Carrie took over my spot at my job while I was on maternity leave. Carrie has ALWAYS had my back, and I hers.
A few years ago, we had a falling out. I’ve been mourning this breakup pretty constantly. I mean, I was supposed to be the “Bitch of Honor) (aka the maid of honor) at her wedding. My child one day was to babysit hers (let’s face it, Liz is only 6 and a tad young for that still, but how we dreamed). All the times at Perkins, Dominos, Culvers, the mall… Carrie’s (bad) driving… birthday parties and get togethers, trips to the bar, drunk pictures, monopoly (while drinking), rum, nervous breakdown. I love this girl and all my memories of us. Losing her was like losing my arm.
I was very excited when I heard the announcement via the grapevine that she had gotten pregnant. She had a medical condition about 3-4 years ago that reduced her chances of becoming pregnant. I still regret not being there more for her then, but when situations get life-threating-serious, I seem to clam up and hide. Don’t know why, just do Anyways, I lived to hear the smallest update, I wanted to know it all! When they announced that it was a boy, I was excited for them. One day, Erich mentioned name possibilities on FB. I was reminded of a conversation we had all had once, concerning baby names of future children, where Erich insisted that Wolfgang Amadeus was a strong German name (to match his last name). At the time, Carrie and I were a tad concerned, but after 6 years, the name kinda grows on you. So on one of his posts, I reminded him of that long ago conversation. Then I put it out of my head.
Quite obviously, I wasn’t invited to her baby shower- and I wasn’t really expecting to be either, I mean we weren’t talking so why invite me?? But I felt compelled to buy her a gift. So I did, a few days later. It wasn’t much, some baby wipes, some travel bottles of Johnson’s products for the diaper bag, and a couple boxes of Girl Scout cookies. But I was hoping it would send the message that I was happy for her and Erich.
Well, said baby gift sat in my truck, wrapped and ready to deliver, for a few weeks. On this past Monday, St Patrick’s Day, I was out looking for “for rent” signs and happened into her parents’ neighborhood. Quite impulsively, I decided to drop the gift off. I mean, it was just sitting in the back of my truck, seemingly staring me in the face every time I checked the rearview mirror. I pulled into the driveway, walked it up to the door, and left it. Thankfully it was a nice day out.
An hour later, Konnor and I landed at a McDonalds. I connected to the Wi-Fi and heard the news that Erich and Carrie were hospital bound via Facebook. A funny thought went thru my head—wasn’t it ironic that I had dropped the baby gift off today? I made myself giggle. An hour or so after that, it was confirmed she was actually in fact in labor, and that baby was on his way.
When I dropped Konnor off to his mom, she was telling me how the labor was progressing (she is the lucky lil newborn’s aunt after all, so she should know what’s going on lol). I couldn’t help but feel angry and jealous of her knowledge, but reality kicked in and reminded me I had lost that privilege when Carrie and I had our falling out. The whole way home to Portage from Madison, I was fighting tears- I felt that I should be there for her. It was killing me to know she was going through all that labor entails and I couldn’t be there for her. I’m ashamed to admit I was quite jealous of others and their proximity to the process which she was going through.
I realized that the way I was feeling was probably EXACTLY the same way she felt almost 7 years ago, when I was in labor and we didn’t call her (she was at work, I didn’t want to interrupt that!). Of course, that just made me feel like a shittier person/friend, and regret decisions I had made then. For instance, Carrie by all rights should have been Lizzi’s godmother. But for whatever reason, I gave Liz a godfather, which turned out to be a major mistake as we don’t have anything to do with him and haven’t for 2+ years now. Essentially, my child has no god parents. But she should have had this woman for a godmother.
Anyways, I headed home. And a few hours later, at 645 PM, little Wolfgang Oskar was born. On St Patrick’s Day. With a lucky birthdate as such, he should be one of the luckiest little boys around. He was 8 lbs even (How do you keep guessing those weights exactly Amanda??).
Well, along came Tuesday. I picked Konnor up and we did our normal routine- McDonalds for unstructured playtime. I sat here (coincidently enough we are doing this same activity right now lol), working on my Girl Scout parent memo, but couldn’t put Carrie or the new baby out of my mind. A mutual friend of ours had brought me flowers in the hospital when I had liz, but since that friend is no longer with us, she couldn’t do the same for Carrie, which I know she would have had she been here. So I decided that I was going to get her some flowers. Konnor and I headed towards Madison and stopped at Felly’s (when the hell did Flowerama go out of biz???). It was easy to pick the carnations, but finding a vase that would be reusable was harder- they had all these ornate things that I just couldn’t see Carrie using. Or else they were in hideous colors… Or girly colors… Finally I asked if they had any just plain glass vases, and she took us back to the store room where they apparently hide the boring and plain items lol. But a simple glass vase was all I wanted, I was looking for a simple clean look.
Add in a quick stop to Walgreens for a card, some ribbon and a stuffed animal (I chose a bunny). Went back out to the truck and headed off towards Meriter. I admit, I was quite chicken. I didn’t know if I would be welcomed or not. Part of me was all for just dropping the flowers and whatnot off at the info desk on the maternity floor and just dipping. But then I couldn’t pass along the message I wanted to give, the reason I had bought the flowers in the first place. I sat in the truck for probably a half hour, getting the flowers ready and working up my nerve. I was extremely nervous, no doubt about that!
Konnor and I walked into the hospital, got the room number and parking validation ticket, and headed to the north bank of elevators. It struck me as we were walking that it had been just shy of a year since I had been here last, from when my god-daughter Brynleigh was born (3/27/13). We rode up the elevators. I figured I had gotten this far, might as well finish the deed, right?
The attendant buzzed us through the doors. We walked down to Carrie’s room where we knocked and awaited admittance—I was damn near shaking from anxiety. Erich opened the door and I asked if “this was going to be a problem”—aka my being there/visiting. He said no, and I got to see Carrie for the first time in over a year- probably about 18 months. And I got to meet Wolfgang as well.
I handed her the flowers, and said “Sarah brought me flowers when I had Liz, and she would have done the same for you but she’s not here anymore so I brought them for her”. I was in tears as I said this (and Im not a crying sort of person!!).
To make a long story shorter for ya, we talked some, I got to hold the baby J I was up at the hospital for about 45 minutes, and those were very bittersweet moments for me. Baby fever kicked in, but I dismissed it (Derek and I will get there eventually). I apologized to Carrie, told her how I had felt while knowing she was in labor, and then explained how I felt bad for making her go thru that 7 years ago. She told me that none of it mattered, what mattered was that I was here now. The flood of emotions that went thru me as she said that is pretty indescribable.
But reconciliation can and is an amazing thing, and I have nothing but positive thoughts about future times. Love you Carrie.