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Gold Medal Baby

I'm surrounded by baby these days and I suppose it's my age. All of my friends are getting married and some are even starting to "try" before their nuptials are confirmed, fighting to beat the infertility clock. The race is on: late twentysomething couples stand at the starting line, perched on their toes, fingertips brushing the ground. Sweat has started to roll lightly down their faces in reaction to the pressure of the task ahead of them. The gun goes off, BANG! And the couples begin to hurdle down the track. Except, wait. Instead of gracefully bounding around the circle, they stumble awkwardly, each with a leg in the potato sack. They have to move in unison and have perfect timing to get the job done right. It takes skill and possibly, several times around the track, to make it work. And when it does, they're off to the next event- the obstacle course.

Unlike the sympathetic feelings I get while talking about weddings, when the conversation goes a little like, "Yep. I know. It's not YOUR day it's THEIR day. Get used to it," talking about pregnancy and babies excites me. I love hearing my friends' news about how they found out, "Did you see the plus sign as you peed on the stick?!", how they told their husband and what their favorite cravings are, "Aren't cream cheese and bagels heavenly?"

What's even better is the anticipation of watching my friends get cuter and cuter as they grow with and prepare for their babies. The women physically become adorable as their bellies round out and they wear the latest Target Maternity fashions with pride. The dads-to-be ask clueless questions and squeamishly listen to other already-Dads talk about the birth, "Yeah- I saw the whole thing happen. It's hard to believe a person can come out of there!" In and out of tires the couples hop, scaling the wall, shimmying through the tube, maneuvering through the 9-month, parent-to-be obstacle course. And I have a front row seat to the event.

The best part is the medal ceremony, the birth. I'm so proud to see my friends accomplish this huge task, showing off their baby like a gold medal. I have lots of new babies in my life, little bundles belonging to my friends. They are not my baby but I'm amazed at how much I care for these children. I oohh and ahh over every picture sent, cuddle them in my arms, (if they live close and I have that luxury) and celebrate all of their milestones alongside their mothers and fathers. After a recent visit with one baby/mommy duo I wondered why I felt such affection for this particular baby and it didn't take me long to realize how much I look forward to loving this person as much as I have grown to love my friend.

No matter what events life brings us next, I'm glad to be tackling them head on beside so many amazing friends. And their babies.

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