That’s What Friends (and Friends’ Babies) Are For.

posted in: Family, Sicky 12
Me n' Kin-Kin on the set of Quilty. Kin-Kin, this was 2015, right? Photo: Matt Gonzales
Me n’ Kin-Kin teamed up on the set of Quilty. Kin-Kin, this would have been 2015, right? Photo: Matt Gonzales.


A few weeks ago, I confessed that I had been putting off seeing my GI doctor out of fear of what she would tell me. Many of you sped to my digital side to give me a digital hug and say, basically, “Go see your doctor, kid. We like you. We want you to live.” It was the encouragement I needed to make the appointment and keep it. Thank you.

Well, I went to see Dr. Yun yesterday. But I wasn’t alone.

Regular readers of the ol’ PG know my friend Heather. I have mentioned her many times, perhaps most notably in a series of posts last summer when she had her first child, Julia, and I was present for the birth. (There were also frequent Heather sightings while I lived in NYC and D.C., as I stayed with her and her delightful husband when I was in town for business or holidays; there was also this post about the Dairy Queen blizzard.) Those who loved classic Quilty know Heather that way, too; she was assistant producer on the show four out of the five years we made it and appeared as a guest on the show many times, too.

There are many qualities that I admire in Heather. She is generous, as evidenced by the number of times she has given me keys to her home. She is dependable, the proof there being the years we worked together with nary a hiccup. Heather is funny. She’s a great designer. She’s clearly a wonderful mother (more on that lil’ rascal Julia in a minute) but there’s something I admire most in Heather and I’m blinking back a tear or two as I type this: Heather is steadfast.

Forgive me for making it about me for just a moment, but to properly describe Heather’s steadfastness, I need to first describe what it’s like to be my friend. It’s not very…even. I’m out of town a lot, for one thing. When I finally get home from being among a ton of people, I’m in desperate need of recharging. As an introvert, this means that I need to be alone for awhile, otherwise I’m no good to anyone, including myself. Sometimes, I fall in love with a boy and move to New York City, but then we break up and I move to Washington, D.C. and when I get home, I start graduate school. Crafting chains of events of these kinds is a specialty of mine, but I end up with few opportunities to go to matinees or maintain a weekly sew day, for example. And then there’s the writer thing. Writers are weird. Most of us have some measure of social anxiety — yes, anxiety with people we know and love very much. I’m raising my hand, here.

But Heather is true. She loves me because I’m Mar, I think. She sees my wild life and it’s okay with her. Even if we don’t see each other for awhile, when we get together, it’s great. We’re peas n’ carrots. I’ve told Heather things I haven’t told other people. I’ve relied on her. The fact that I know I can absolutely rely on her says much about how she loves me, the very nature of Heather. Her steadfastness makes the world a better place. Now, she knows I love her fiercely — I’m not completely hopeless at friendship, I just show it in different ways, cough, cough — but she does such a better job at staying connected and I am grateful.

Yesterday, I dragged myself out of bed, dragged myself to the train, dragged myself up to the 16th floor of the Lavin Pavillion at Northwestern Memorial. But though I was anxious and gloomy, I made it. I made it because Heather texted me that she and Julia would be there soon. Sure enough, moments after the nurse left me alone in the exam room and just before I started biting my cuticles, I heard a soft “knock, knock” on the door. I jumped off the exam table as my beautiful friend pushed open the door with Princess Julia in her stroller. They had come to be with me in a place that feels to me like a dark forest.

Forests are no match for true friendship and the sweetness of an eight-month-old baby. That child is incomparably adorable. Julia has discovered her tongue (wonder of wonders!) and sticks it out with glee as often as possible. Heather looks great. Between chatting with her and watching Julia rocket around the room on all fours, I had no time to be afraid. When Dr. Yun came in, I answered her questions without crying even once. And suddenly, the appointment was over. Honestly, it could’ve gone on longer and I wouldn’t have minded at all.

Heather and Julia came with me for my blood draw, too. Dr. Yun wants several tests done; I’ll go under for those. Really, that’s the scary stuff. The tests and the news afterward. Heather and I have already talked about another rendezvous.

Love you, Kin-Kin. Thanks.

12 Responses

  1. Carol-the pencil lady
    | Reply


  2. Robin Cassidy
    | Reply

    Mary, first let me say I am a regular reader of your blog and absolutely love it. You are just so wonderfully human and not afraid to share it and show it. – thank you. I have laughed and cried reading what you write, you are so great at what you do. In my many years on this planet I have learned that great friends are one of the most important things we need; there’s just so much you don’t have to explain to those who know and love you well. You are most fortunate to have Heather and her family. Best wishes to both of you.

  3. Maribeth Woolsey
    | Reply

    Yes, and my bestie is also named Mary and I call her Mar……

  4. PianoMom1986
    | Reply

    So glad to read you made it to the GI. I found out 18 months ago that my mother passed along the dreaded 1 of 2 genes that give you a greater risk of colon cancer. As a result I have to undergo a colonoscopy every two years and this is my year again but it’s only my second time. My cousin was able to obtain our great grandmother’s death certificate only to find she died from colon cancer. No one in the family seemed to know her cause of death until this enlightenment last year. My own grandmother died from three different cancers colon being one of them so will drag myself to the GI later this year. For me it’s the wonderful prep that I dread the most & just don’t do well with it. I share this only to explain that to a small degree I have deep rooted empathy & dread. Hang in there because we all want you to get through the testing. Sending you every good vibe possible!

  5. Baa
    | Reply

    One step at a time sweet Mary.
    God Bless you, Heather & beautiful baby Julia


  6. Liz Flaherty
    | Reply

    Girlfriends are some of the greatest gifts there are. Babies, too.

  7. quiltmom anna
    | Reply

    Sounds like you have a most fantastic friend who is there for you no matter what- now that is one special kind of friend . It also sounds like it is a treasured relationship for both of you. What could be more wonderful than that.. Hope that all the tests come out positively wonderful.
    Warmest wishes – thanks for sharing this lovely snippet of life.

  8. June Jelly
    | Reply

    Wow! I’m pretty new to quilting and have just discovered you, your great sense of humour, and expertise and passion for quilting. I’m so sorry you have health issues and wish you all the very best! It’s great to have such a reliable supportive friend as Heather for real hands on help, but I’m sure there will also be an almost tangible upswell of good wishes from all the hundreds of folk you’ve touched with your quilting passion and whom you’ve made smile so often. Get well soon!

  9. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    I love your metaphor about trees and friendship. Kindred spirits have the same clock and can start a conversation on September 21 and without a beat pick it up on October 3 without recrimination or guilt. Glad you have Heather and the ever HRH Princess Julia. Prayers for the medical tests.

  10. Alice
    | Reply

    Having a friend like that is worth more than gold. May you continue to be brave.

  11. Gay B
    | Reply

    Steadfast-what a wonderful thing to be and to have in your life.

  12. […] No. 3: I made it. A few months ago, I shared about my friend Heather. In that post, I confessed that while I’m not a bad friend — what […]

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