I met my friends, Therese and Sara Lynn over five years ago, when we lived next door. They were having a stoop sale, and our relationship quickly blossomed from there. They are just a few weeks shy from welcoming their first child after struggling with infertility, and we couldn’t be more happy for them. As we all know. family looks and feels and shapes however you want and need it to, and T, S and M and their family building, are shining examples of this. Today, I’m excited to have Therese share their story…
Our home here extends beyond these walls and into the apartment downstairs, where a single mother and her twins live. We didn’t know them until a few years ago, a bit after their mother had moved into our building and birthed the babes, when they were already emerging as adorable toddlers with big eyes, beautiful hair, and distinctly endearing personalities. I’ve never been shy about talking to my neighbors, forming many of my lifelong relationships based on the accident of proximity that a living situation afforded me. And it’s no different with M and the twins—Sara Lynn and I couldn’t resist their smiling sweetness in the hallway and I quickly realized in M I had a kindred spirit. She is a straight shooting, dynamic and successful woman who embodies many of my aspirations.
We were timid at first, cautiously inviting one another up or down for a brief playdate, until all barriers wore away and it’s a rare Saturday morning that we don’t find ourselves pajama-clad in M’s apartment drinking coffee, decompressing from the week. While we were trying to get pregnant she was our closest confidant. Her experience with fertility clinics and the pregnancy journey was unique amongst our friends, and her proximity made it impossible not to fill her in on each attempt over the year plus we spent marching to doctors several times a month. She cried with us when we lost a baby late last summer and we celebrated together when it seemed like this pregnancy was keeping.
The twins have taken to our place, often begging to come upstairs, where they know exactly which drawer in the credenza houses their toys and what they can touch in my jewelry box. We take them to the farmers market or sit and witness their dance recitals, call M if we’re out of olive oil or need some serious advice. Come this fall our infant daughter will share their nanny, and the twins couldn’t be more excited about the baby growing in my belly. They feel for kicks and “help” assemble all aspects of the nursery. We’ve become family, in every way aside from biology. And what’s biology anyway, compared to love?
Living in the bubble of Brooklyn we didn’t initially realize that our making of a family would confuse anyone. That we might be labeled abnormal, or mystifying, to some. But eight months of pregnancy have borne every breed of question you might fathom and some harsh judgment, too. We know that as our daughter grows there will be days when her lineage is questioned, confusion over her two moms and where biology factors in. There hasn’t been a point where we didn’t feel certain about children or that we should subscribe to some heteronormative construct. But our “apartment family” has further expanded any previous definition we held to.
Our daughter will be the sixth member of this motley crew. She’ll grow up alongside the twins we have come to adore. I can already imagine her yearning to take her first steps so she can keep up with Z running through the park, or J patiently kissing her forehead when she starts to fuss. She’ll traverse between the two apartments as the twins do now, and best of all she’ll know that love makes a family, nothing else and nothing more.
(Thank you, Therese! We can not wait to visit and hold the baby! Photography by Stephanie Stanley for LaTonya Yvette)