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We've been friends for 30 years—and motherhood has brought us even closer

She opened my eyes to the fact that all mothers are imperfect—just like our friendship.

We've been friends for 30 years—and motherhood has brought us even closer

My best friend Emily and I have been friends for 30 years. That's a long time to be in a relationship with someone—marriages are lucky to last that long. Emily and I have gone through a lot together—many ups and downs. But despite our imperfections and arguments, we've managed to always support each other. And after becoming mothers, somehow our friendship began to mean even more.

My best friend and I met on the first day of kindergarten. She stood as a poised, well-behaved introvert with perfect blonde hair. I, on the other hand, bounced around the room—loud and boisterous—with my messy brown bob. "Opposites attract," they say.

Through our turbulent teenage years, we were always honest with each other. Emily stood by me after a couple of run-ins with the cops and encouraged me to settle down—maybe just a tad. In the meantime, I coached her into breaking up with all of the bad boys who didn't deserve her. Because we were so different, we allowed ourselves to see what life was like from another point of view.

Because of her, I learned that true friends accept one another for their differences while also nudging the other if they need a little direction.

When Emily was just 16, her mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Her mother managed to battle the disease for a handful of years before it became too much. During our sophomore year of college, at the age of 20, Emily lost her mother.

I will never forget the day of the funeral. I stood outside of the funeral home and the hearse drove around the circle driveway. Emily put her hand up to the window in the back seat, looked me in the eyes, and started crying. I wanted to leap into that hearse and cradle her tightly—never letting go. As true friends do, I did my best to be there for her the months following. But a few years later, the unthinkable happened—she lost her father, too.

Despite losing her parents at such a young age, Emily stood resilient. She married a couple of years before me and began having babies immediately. Me? Well, I was still in party-mode—meandering into bars and staying out late on the weekends. I was also getting comfortable in my teaching career and put my all into that—not even thinking about starting a family of my own. Emily and I still chatted weekly, but we grew distant.

Looking back, I should have done more to support my best friend in the most important role of her life—a new mother. But I didn't. Motherhood came naturally to Emily. She breastfed with ease and when her babies fussed, she tended to them with patience.

I almost felt as though she didn't need my support in that way—I felt like nothing had changed. But she became a mother—of course things changed. I didn't visit as often as I should have and I felt neglected when she couldn't hang out as much on the weekends. I was selfish. I didn't even try to walk in her shoes, because at that time, I didn't even want to think about motherhood for myself.

The forest rooted between us grew taller. But finally, we trudged through it, met halfway, and did what we both knew we needed to—we had it out. After an argument over the phone and some tears shed, we became stronger. Friendships are like all relationships, and sometimes you just have to have that heated discussion.

When I finally started my own family, Emily was there for me. She supported me by holding my newborn when he just wouldn't stop crying. She brought over meals for our family and scooped my son up for 20 minutes just so I could take a shower. No, I was not a natural mother like Emily. But that only made her support me more.

When the guilt of not being able to breastfeed suffocated me, instead of judging me, she let me know it was okay. This made me realize what motherhood was all about—imperfect mothers applauding one another—No. Matter. What. After Emily encouraged me to shed the breastfeeding guilt, I was finally able to enjoy motherhood—and be good at it, too.

Today, Emily's kids are like big cousins to mine. Her kids teach my kids how to fish and her kids give my kids their old dress-up clothes.

She opened my eyes to the fact that all mothers are imperfect—just like our friendship. Now that we are both mothers, we can share in our joys, triumphs, and blunders of motherhood together.

I'm sure that life will bring us more trials and tribulations within the next 30 years, and I'm certain we'll be able to withstand it all. I can just picture us gray-haired and wrinkly, the kids grown up, sipping wine on the porch chatting about the days of when our kids were little and even when we were little, too—joining hands on that very first day of kindergarten when our friendship began to bloom.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

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