Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Candy, Cookies & Juice

I first met Kelly Picciotta when I interviewed with Discovery, eleven years ago. I don't think she was sizing up my skills set, as much as she eyeballing who could potentially be sharing her office. I thought I had her when we discovered our mutual passion for travel, but she was tight-lipped, revealing little.

Months after being hired and sharing the office with Kelly, I learned very much about her. Not because she volunteered it to me, but by proximity, we overheard every single phone conversation. I knew when her work trips were scheduled and she heard very humiliating conversations as I begged clients to launch Animal Planet and the Travel Channel. I knew about her siblings and about her parents sick dog, George. It is hard not to learn a lot about your office mate, when you are unintentionally eavesdropping on every word.

KPK & Kili in the background
Our friendship began to grow and we began traveling together with work - this took us to the ends of the US - from losing wallets in Seattle to mischievous snow days in DC. We RELUCTANTLY landed in Orlando at Disney (where I secretly STILL sign her up for every garbage mailing I get), spa-ed in Scottsdale, played from San Francisco to Arlington. We did a summer share in New York (FROM DC!). We would fly in to BWI every Monday morning at 6am after a dreamy weekend of beach time and clambakes and danced our 'whoa-whoa-whoas' (Africanz for big a__) off at Austin City Limits. She was always willing and I was always random - We skied in Vancouver, rode four wheelers in Cabo, zip-lined in Sayulita, celebrated Kelly's 30th birthday summitting Mt Kilamanjaro in Africa. From then, it only got better, we met our husbands, planned weddings, planned babies and now each have two boys, both with six months of each other eleven years later.

Cookie & Candy in Tanzania, Africa

C & C & Paul skiing at Whistler

WE DID IT!!!!! (and holy cow it was C.O.L.D at 19k feet!)
For those that don't know, I call her Cookie. Not because her husband is named Juice and that automatically gets a double-take when you say it, but because she used to go by her initials, KP.

While we were in Africa, one of our guides overheard me calling her KP and in his loose translation heard, "cookie". For a week, he assumed we were a couple and Cookie was my term of endearment. So, it's been Cookie ever since. (and I giggle on the inside to hear Nash call her "Aunt Cookie").

Kelly came to Charlotte after Shaw was born. She tried many times and while I wanted her there, I couldn't find the strength to accept it was so serious. In her words, she 'just needed to see us'.

I cried the whole time Kelly was in town. It just felt so comforting to be with such a good friend and to give Michael a break from being the rock of our family.

Kelly was pregnant with her second son, Nicholas, at the time. She very badly wanted to meet Shaw in the NICU. Our NICU is reserved for immediate family only - and she certainly qualifies. Nevertheless, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Having had Nash at 41 weeks, 10 pounds, was the most surreal, beautiful magical thing that had ever happened (even with an emergency csection). It still goes down after our wedding as the best day of my entire life. We had family and high fives, photos and outfits to leave the hospital. It was...perfect.

Having Shaw - well, it was different. Terrifying. Chaotic. Humbling.

Being wheeled through the doors of a NICU filled with a team of specialists and emergency correspondents, alarms and solace. It has a very solemn feel. Rarely do families meet each other's eyes and often you catch a glimpse of comforting and tears.

Mostly, no matter where your baby is, you parade down a long, windowless, prestine hallway, lined with babies - the most tiny babies you have ever seen. All are covered in tubes. Some are in incubators, like what I saw in a grade school science class. Some are peacefully sleeping, others are born with their intestines on the outside of ther body, some are on a heating pad because they have returned from open heart surgery that day - they are the size of your hand.

It is hard.

While I wanted Kelly to meet Shaw more than anything, I couldn't subject her to that. Once you see what 'could' go wrong, it just changes things. It's like a secret door into the whatIfs and NO BODY wants to be there.

I think she knew from my eyes I was sparing her. So she sat with Michael, Nash and I instead and gave us more comfort than I could have wished for.

Cookie Kane made a recent trip with her oldest son, Dexter (3) to the HHI. It has been the most anticipated trip of the summer. Nash, Shaw an I picked them up at the airport and celebrated five glorious days with my dear friend and one of two of her beautiful, sweet sons.

I will let the pictures do the talking....

Thank you, Cookie Kane, for being the friend most people aspire to be. Thank you Juice for holding down the fort and being so gracious to let this happen. You and Nick were deeply missed. Thank you to my husband who giggled with Dex and Nash and let Kelly and I overdose on nostalgia. I can't wait until the EIGHT of us are together again.

"Did Y'ALL see my hole in one?" (Trying to teach Dex the context of Y'all)
Cupcakes for breakfast - only for birthdays (and Dexter visits)
Dex & Romeo
Who would have thought 11 years ago...
 'Rockin It Out'
Celebrating Bee Mighty & Shark Week
Dexter & Nash with Bambi

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