A couple of weekends ago, I attended a friend’s baby shower. (We will call her Fedora, since I like inside-joke inspired aliases.) I don’t see Fedora very often, but we have made it a point to maintain our friendship through texts, occasional phone calls, and getting together once a year when her annual car inspection brings her out to a dealership in my neck of the woods. Fedora and her husband, Beatlejuice, are expecting their first child, a baby boy, (with a name shrouded in mystery) this October. During the shower, I took a long look at Fedora; the kind of focused pause where you really see someone– a look so extremely mindful, intentional, and deep that when you finally snap out of it, you wonder how long you’ve been creepily staring at the person.

This mother-to-be looked exactly as she should– beaming with joy in her perfectly selected navy and white chevron-striped maternity dress and matching jewelry. Always well-put together and polished down to the last detail, she carried that beautiful, 5-weeks-to-go belly around on (wait for it) high heels. Next to her sat frumpy-lumpy me; a mom whose 15-month-postpartum feet have accepted that Old Navy BOGO flip flops are now my “going out shoes.” #fancyfeet

As I watched Fedora that afternoon, I consciously made a mental note to remember her on this day– but more importantly, I promised myself to remember her later.

I promised myself to remember her after the shower is over and the initial excitement of pregnancy, birth, newborn, and the first year have all faded into the chaos that becomes our every day as parents. When the bright, shiny toys she received at her shower, once strategically placed in the nursery, now litter her hallways and living room, I will remember her. When two weeks go by and she still hasn’t responded to my “How are things going with the baby?” text, I’ll smile as I remember her.

Fedora, I promise to to remember you long after all of people who sent cards, came to the shower, and visited you at the hospital become an occasional “like” on one of your Facebook pictures. I promise to remember you when you realize the baby clothes you started out with were designed by people who have never actually tried to dress a baby, that baby hangers are just for show, and that what you should have registered for was a lifetime supply of Diaper Genie refills and baby wipes, 1000 pairs of non-skid socks in size 18 months through 4T, a case of baby Tylenol, 8 pairs of really comfy baby pajamas and one reaaaaallly comfortable pair of mama pajamas.

And I want you to know how much it means to me that you have remembered the me you knew before I was a mom; the glamorous, fun girl who I was and hopefully still am (if even just a little bit) somewhere deep beneath the snot-stained sweatshirt and the permanent limp from stepping on one too many sharp-edged superhero figurines. Thank you for remembering me, even on the days when I just throw the kid’s toys next to the toy box and on the days where my sons’ dinners consist of black olives, dill pickles and saltines.

I will remember you not only because you are my friend, but also because you are connected to the rest of us parents– you and Beatlejuice will join us on the sometimes not-so-pretty side of parenthood; the guilt, the failures, the low points, the changes in ourselves that, even though (possibly) temporary, make us furrow our brow in the mirror while whispering, “Who are you?”

I’ll never forget you on the day that I first saw you in the light of the beauty of motherhood, Carry that light with you for the days when the light flickers. Because you’re beautiful and wonderful, even in the dark.