It’s 8:53am and I have just dropped my daughter off at preschool. I put the baby in her seat, buckle up, and wait. Exactly eight minutes later, one of us makes the call. My best friend, now done dropping her daughter at school, is also in her car. Time for our morning recap.
What follows is a back-and-forth brain-dump filled with mindless conversation and emotional unloadings. Not much has happened since we last spoke – the morning prior at the latest, but likely texts from the afternoon or night before. Sometimes I drive right past my street because this morning therapy is too important to be cut short. My bestie and I, we trade stories, solve problems, and make observations. We understand each other. A true, real, raw, holy-shit-me-too kind of understanding. And without it – without her – I think I would lose it.
She is there through all the big life-altering events with valuable maternal understanding and sympathy. She offers a supportive ear through miscarriages, COVID-19 pregnancies, and ADHD diagnosis. Even in a poison control emergency, she is my first call. Confusing mammogram results, questionable ultrasound findings, moves, and career changes — she provides sympathetic support and empathy. Never know-it-all and rarely contradictive, she provides unwavering encouragement. And because we share similarities in the way we love and worry, she is able to provide the type of shoulder that is necessary during the heavier motherhood experiences.
She shows up for the low-stakes shit, too. Preschool decisions, patio furniture choices, and dinner dilemmas. Trivial family feuds, toddler tantrums, and imperfect teacher conferences — she always comes with a complementing story, often even one-upping my madness for comedy’s sake, turning the tables to make sure I don’t feel alone. And she knows the best methods for distraction when necessary, texting sarcastic one-offs, or a link to a great pair of shoes. Her advice always feels helpful, because she knows me so well, and because we mother with similar strategies and aspirations — something that I have found bonds you fast, and forever.
But mostly our conversations are just a lot of fluff, in the most deeply necessary way. The topic pendulum swings from breakfast foods to afternoon plans and over to Barbie accessories. We work quickly to cover maximum ground, knowing our morning call will inevitably be cut short due to a meltdown, immediate need, or catastrophe. Most times, it ends with a quick “gotta go!” — requiring little closure or explanation, just a mutual understanding that we will carry on the next time we have a free minute.
Sometimes, rarely, we are able to sync our schedules for some face-to-face contact. With seven kids between us it’s not easy, and usually means at least some of them are in tow. We bob and weave our discussions through the chaos like Pacquiao in a prize fight and when someone inevitably ends up in tears, we always make sure to blame our own offspring first. The truest, most loyal sign of friendship.
Most importantly, we offer each other the simple yet rare luxury of being completely seen and understood in a really uncomplicated way. It is something I wish for all moms: a uniquely vital and important relationship outside of their family. A strong bond that compliments their motherhood and marriage. A friendship filled with synchronous nods and eye rolls, guilt-free plan cancellations, and judgment-free vent sessions. A bullshit-free, consistent, uncomplicated supporter. No outfit changes necessary before arrival, no fake smiles on hard days — just the real, messy, fully-flawed goodness that true friendship-love is made of. Because I couldn’t imagine my motherhood life without her.
Samm Burnham Davidson is an ex-lawyer mom of four who swears a lot. She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.