It was day four. Or was it day five? I can't recall but it was smack bang in the middle of "the weeping" – those post-birth days when your emotions are held to ransom by an epic hormone cocktail. The intense love you feel looking at your baby's tiny face makes you cry but then, the sound of your partner's breathing makes you cry with nerve-shredding annoyance. The sound of your two-year-old son uttering the words, "I ya you, Harlow Wose" leaves you inconsolable.
In short, you are temporarily insane. A fragile little ball of tears.
In this state, you are happy to entertain exactly zero well-wishers who want to drop by and coo at the baby, even though they'll no doubt lie and say you look so well.
I was on the couch and crying steadily when the text came through. Be there in half an hour. And then, another text bearing the same message but a different sender. To be fair, I'd sent them both a previous message saying, Visit today? Oh yes! That would be delightful and I may have even warned them I may not be feeling particularly delightful myself.
But now they were coming and I probably smelled of baby vomit and despair. So I did what any self-respecting nutcase does – I put on mascara and cleaned the toilet. And then I waited.
Pru arrived first with a giant box of food, still warm from her stove. I opened the front door just a crack and then apologised as she awkwardly maneuvered herself and the box through that crack. I wasn't being cautious, I assured her, the door just didn't open any further than that on account of the world's most ridiculously positioned piano sitting directly behind said front door.
She cooed at my daughter, I cooed at the bounty she had lovingly prepared for my family and then I embraced her like an old friend.
But Pru is not an old friend. In fact, I had never met her before this moment. No, Pru was a reader of my blog and had found me via Mamabake, the big batch cooking movement we were both fans of on Facebook.
And now, here she was, in my kitchen, having Mamabaked just for me.
Meeting Pru, welcoming her into my home and receiving food from her was a profound post-birth experience. On a day when I wanted to curl up on the couch with my tiny daughter and just cry or better still, return to the cocoon of hospital, instead I found myself smiling and laughing, and feeling suddenly and powerfully reconnected with the world.
When my best friend arrived ten minutes later, I felt almost…normal. The vulnerable fragility just fell away, in it's place a quiet confidence that I would be able to negotiate the world again with three children; that I actually looked forward to reengaging.
Later that evening, as we sat down to Pru's lasagne, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort, of having been nurtured. And when Bren's guilty face answered my question of whether this lasagne was better than mine, I didn't care. Hell, I agreed. It was amazing! Because it made getting dinner on the table effortless. Because it was warm and filling. Because it had, what was that flavour? salami? in the bolognese sauce. It was amazing because in every mouthful was the kindness of a woman who sought to reach out to me at a time when I really needed to feel someone reaching.
Preparing food for someone is, I have now discovered, one of the most powerful ways to express love and friendship.
Pru fed my family for me.
How amazing is that?
And equally nourishing was my lovely Tori, who, knowing me as she does, brought macaroons.
I was also reminded of the importance of letting people in. Even if I am feeling low, unattractive, sad or fragile. Especially when I'm feeling those things. We are not meant to go through this world alone.
And on this little gift of a day, I was lifted up by an old friend and a new one.
Thankful? That doesn't even come close to describing it.
Linking up with lovely Kate at kate says stuff.