About 8 or 9 years ago, my friends and I started an annual holiday tradition called The Stocking Exchange. Heidi and I sewed each of us a custom stocking and we all get together, bring food and small gifts and have a big party post-Christmas. Over the years I've come to look forward to this event as much as real Christmas.
This year Heidi hosted at her house, which is only a few blocks from our house. We walked Edie over in her stroller and I will admit, I was tired. Edie had been a pretty terrible sleeper the night before and I was a little fried. Edie is hit or miss with crowds and with all the holiday parties and family events over the past month, I was nervous about having to console her off and on throughout the event and wondered whether I'd really be able to enjoy myself. But we had SUCH a nice time.
Edie was so well behaved and I just felt so relaxed and happy that night. I looked around a few different times because I realized I had no idea where my daughter even was. She was that happy and my friends were so willing to hold her so that I could enjoy my food and wine. She even slept in Heidi's arms for 30 minutes while we all talked and debriefed on our family Christmases. The food was great, the wine was fantastic, but my friends are the best. Jeff and I are the only ones with a kid in the group (although that won't be true for long) and instead of making me feel like an annoying breeder, they just love Edie. They don't roll their eyes (even if they want t0) when I go into ridiculous detail telling them how frequently she woke up the night before, despite the fact that they have every right to ask me exactly what I expected when I had a baby - that I'd get to sleep peacefully all night?
Walking home after the party, I was filled with an overwhelming, corny nostalgia for my friends. Next year Edie will be chasing Darrah and Matt's little boy around at the stocking exchange,
and who knows what wonderful men some of my other friends will choose to share their lives with and bring to this party in the coming years.
I once met a man who had a fancy cursive tattoo that scrolled up the inside of his arm. It said, "I have nice friends". I should get a tattoo that says, "I have the best of friends".