Mine is "Peaches." She came in to my life right after Eve was born, before I knew I would need saving. Before I knew that those endless days stretched out before me would drive me right in to the looney bin. She showed up with her daughter and her endless optimism and her vast knowledge of local parks and her open-door policy and her bright, sunshiny love. She brought her imperfections without apology and her acceptance of mine without reservation.
Our burgeoning friendship felt warm and broken in from the start. Settling down with the perfect cup of tea (Peaches is from England and still makes the best cuppa I've ever had) to watch our babies and chat, I never felt awkward or unsure of how to say something. It was as though our newness as parents offered a buffer to any of the mistakes we might make in our new relationship as well.
The thing about a girlfriend like that is that you are still expected to have your own life, too. It isn't like a new romance where the intensity is so great that you exhaust each other by spending every waking minute together. Peaches and I still traveled with our husbands, took our kids to visit grandparents and had other friends, all of which gave us endless things to discuss when we were together. Over the years, we became so comfortable in each other's houses that our kids (by now, four of them - two mine and two hers) began calling us their two mothers and were often just as likely to come to either of us with a question or concern when we were all together.
Three years ago, Peaches and her family moved back to the UK, just as our daughters were about to turn seven years old. Seven years of growing up together, taking art classes and gymnastics together, sharing holiday dinners and having their first sleepovers at each other's houses had formed a bond that was difficult to stretch from here to England.
Three weeks ago, they came back for a visit. They stayed with us for a week and it turns out that the bonds held just fine. The kids played together from sunup to sundown and had a neverending sleepover. Peaches and I cooked together, parented together, folded each other's laundry and chatted for hours over cups of tea. Our friendship feels like that favorite book from your childhood that you go back and read throughout your life. Each time, you see it through a slightly different lens and learn something new, but it never fails to cheer you up and remind you why you fell for it in the first place. Time and distance haven't got anything on me, girlfriend!