Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post: More Alike Than Different

This guest post is from my best friend Brenna.
We affectionately call ourselves the “Minnesota Smiths”, and call the Smith's the “Texas Hollanders”. We constantly find ourselves living “parallel lives” to each other. 

Rachel and I went to college together, and each took a year off to teach before finishing our senior year. There was a small group of us that had left to teach, so those that went back for senior year really bonded. We were both finishing up our training to be teachers and both planning our upcoming weddings. We were definitely good friends, but our friendship really grew over the next few years as we got married and started having kids. 
{Our crew of 10}
 First off, our husbands are A LOT alike and get along very well. Then we started having babies at the exact same time (our oldest girls are only 1 week apart!) and continued to do so for the next 10 years (the biggest spread between our kids is 10 months between our babies).
{Kate and Ella 9 - 2 months apart}
{Alice and Olive 11 - 1 week apart}

Woody and Rachel had girl, girl, girl, and we had girl, girl, girl. 
{Ella and Lilly 7 - 3 months apart}
We’re the same. Always. You can often hear our husbands say “naturally” just after we confirm something happening to each of us at the same time. Rachel and I even have a habit of dressing alike when it is completely unplanned! 

When we found out that we were pregnant with our fourth, Rachel was one of the first to know. Little did I  know that she was suspicious that she might also be pregnant, but hadn’t yet told Woody! Once again, the same. We were due on the same day, and once again celebrated growing our families together. Another set of buddies! 
{Aubrey and Noah 5 - 3 weeks apart}
Now here’s where we strayed from our similarities. Both of us decided to find out the gender of our baby at our ultrasound. The Smiths found out that they were expecting baby girl #4, so we were shocked to find out that we were expecting a boy! A boy?!  We thought for sure that one of the ultrasounds must have been wrong because how could they be different?? 

Shortly before our babies were due, Rachel had a routine ultrasound done just to be sure baby on track and ready for delivery (she had planned C-sections). The ultrasound showed that baby was quite a bit smaller than they would expect for how far along she was, so they referred her to a specialist. This ultrasound revealed that baby girl had a heart defect, a defect that often goes hand-in-hand with individuals with Down’s syndrome. I remember so clearly Rachel saying, “Yesterday she was a healthy baby girl, today she has holes in her heart.”  

Aubrey Elizabeth made her appearance shortly after that (she was two weeks early, and my guy was 1 week late, so they are three weeks apart). I remember Rachel’s phone call so well, “We have a new princess!” Being born early, and with a heart defect, meant that Aubrey had a bit of a rough start. She was in NICU, she couldn’t nurse, she was so, so tiny, she had jaundice…But she was beautiful. And she was indeed a princess. 
{Our "babies" Emelia and Natalie 2 and 1 - 10 months apart}
While Aubrey and Noah may be different from each other, they have a very special, very sweet friendship. They are definitely buddies, and love each other so much! People often comment on how he doesn’t have any buddies in the Smith/Hollander crew as he is the only boy amongst NINE girls! But he is always quick to correct them that Aubrey is his buddy! 

We are blessed beyond words by our friendship with the Smiths, and by the many ways we are alike and by the few ways that we are different. J

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