How my friend’s baby changed my life

Lincoln was born when I was 22 years old. I met his mother when we both worked together at the same grocery store in college. We bonded over work gossip and eventually movies like Enchanted and homemade margaritas and family dynamics. We stayed close friends through friend falling-outs, job changes, and most importantly, her pregnancy.

No one was more excited than I was when I found out she was pregnant. (I mean, that’s probably not true. I’m sure her actual family and husband were more excited.) I had never had a friend have a baby before! I loved babies! I still love them! I was so excited for our friendship to change from Tuesday night movies to making breakfast scones while hanging out with an infant. I know some people struggle with the friendship change after kids come into the formula, but Cara and I became much, much better friends after she had children. I guess we’re lucky, or we work hard at the friendships that matter to us. One of the two.

My 22nd year of life was hard. I had recently graduated college, I was about to meet the on-and-off again love of my life, my car broke down indefinitely, I was working through major friendship changes, and big “what do I do with my life?” questions. Nothing was right. Everything felt weird and incomplete and uncertain.

And then Lincoln was born. The morning he arrived, my car broke down just before that I was supposed to head to Portland to celebrate my birthday. I was really upset, nervous, and not that excited about turning another year older. I headed over to Cara’s house before work to meet the little guy. When Lincoln was placed in my arms, I forgot everything else. I forgot that my car was broken down forever, I forgot that I was nervous to go to Portland with two friends that were on the rocks, I forgot that I cared about graduating college and getting older. Lincoln took that all away. New life is so beautiful and I knew from the second I met him that his life would change mine.

And it has. Lincoln is a Leo and anyone who knows me knows I favor Leos. They (that is to say we) are strong, stubborn, smart, and fiercely loyal. Lincoln has embodied those qualities and then some from the second he entered this world. I spent a lot of time with Lincoln when he was an infant. I remember watching him go from sleeping on his mother’s chest to dancing in his high chair to Michael Jackson to boldly telling me that the old “airplane trick” wouldn’t trick him into eating his food.

I went through a lot of ups and downs throughout my early 20s, because don’t we all? But Lincoln has always been such a consistent for me. He’s been through a lot of phases, and you know what? So have I. He was so sweet and fun when he was a baby and he quickly turned into a strong and bold little dude, something I appreciate as much as I appreciated his youngest days.

He tells me he loves me, he asks me over for dinner on a pretty regular basis, and sometimes I get text messages full of purple and pink hearts that I definitely know were sent from him and not his mom. I love that little kid.

Cara and Eric, Lincoln’s parents, have two other kids now as well. I love them so much. Those three children are the pieces of my heart, but Lincoln will always be my favorite little rock. He helped me through heartbreak and uncertainty and bitterness, and even though he will never be able to understand all of that, it is only important to me that he knows how special he is to everyone around him.

I told Lincoln that he was a little lifesaver once, and he told me that he was not a lifesaver, that he didn’t save lives. He is a literal kid so I told him he may be right, but I know the truth. He did save my life. He gave me a lot of reasons to not hate the world and that is an incredible gift to give a bitter young woman in her 20s. I owe that family a lot. I love them so.