I have a pair of Kardashian designed pants from Sears that have a very bright, colorful, and specific print on them. They are eccentric, to say the least, but fun for when I want to go out dancing with my friends. I wore them out to dinner the first time I met Andie and I know she was second guessing the friendship the second she laid eyes on them and me. That’s okay. I was second guessing myself, too.
Andie and I were coworkers and quickly found that we had a lot in common- we drove the same car, our middle names were the same, and we both shared a love for blue cheese. SOLD. We were immediately besties. Andie moved to Pittsburgh earlier in the year to follow her soon to be husband’s new career. He traveled for work most of the time and she was left alone in a new city full of strangers. Most of my current best friends were getting married and drifting further and further away from our friendship. There was a void in my life that I didn’t know existed until I met Andie. I took her under my Pittsburgh wing and showed her around- introducing her to all of my friends and all that our city had to offer.
About six months into our friendship I began pursuing surrogacy. I was quickly matched with a couple from western Europe and was invited to meet them the following month when they would be in America. Typically, a surrogate would bring her husband with her to the meeting. I did not have a husband. I invited Andie to come with me. She took the day off of work and we drove three hours to meet the intended parents of the baby I would soon be carrying.
We arrived at the restaurant and we were all very nervous. We made small talk and as the minutes went by the conversation got easier. How do you know each other, the parents asked me and Andie. We looked at each other for second- how did we know each other?! It felt like a silly question to answer because it felt like I had known Andie for my whole life. After sharing that we had only become friends six months prior, the gravity of what we were doing together in this moment set in. You must have formed a very strong bond, the intended mother said. Yes, I suppose we did.
That day was four years ago but it feels like a lifetime has passed. Andie and I grew closer and closer as the years went on. She became more than a friend to me, she became my family- someone I knew I could call on no matter the circumstance. She arrived at my house to stay with me minutes after the baby was born so I wouldn’t have to be alone. She is caring and loving and has seen me through some of my worst moments. But Andie moved away this past week- again to follow her husband and his career path to the opposite side of the country. This has been something that I have struggled to understand because I cannot relate- I never had a husband or known a friend to have a husband for whom a cross country relocation would be required until I met Andie.
I always knew she was kind, but I did not understand the selflessness she was capable of until I heard her sobbing at our last dinner together. She had created a family for herself in our city- she had a tribe of women who loved her unconditionally and whom had gathered to celebrate her last night in town. As we went around the table and discussed each personal friendship, it was shocking to me to realize all over again that she was willingly leaving these loved ones behind. I couldn’t understand how one man’s love could be equal to all of the love that surrounded her that night. But I didn’t need to understand. This was her life and her choice and all I needed to know was that I loved her. And loving her meant being supportive no matter the circumstance, no matter if I agreed with her life decisions or not. After all, she chose to be my friend after seeing me wear the Kardashian pants.