The Open Door Policy

Most everyone in this life, has at least one exceptional person who is there for them when all seems to be lost. Whether it is to help cope with devastation, sorrow, or even just a little anxiety;  this person  always seems to be at the right place, at the right time. This person for me was Janet. I had known Janet for years, as she is my best friend Ashley’s mom. Mine and Janet’s relationship grew into a friendship once I became an adult, a camaraderie that helped me through heartache, held me through pain, and laughed with me in happiness.

It was a time of upheaval and apprehension, I was 22 years old and my  good friend was 4 days late for her ‘monthly’ visit. I had only just started seeing Jamie, we were about a month in, and suddenly a newfound pressure consumed me.  I made my way to Janet’s  apartment on the other side of town, Janet was always my ‘go to’ lady when I found myself in a bit of a pickle. As I walked that lonely hill towards my intended destination, the thought of a child weighed heavily on me. A haze of panicky memories became very clear, the notion of rejection ate at me viciously but most of all I wondered…What would people think? I had only returned home several months prior,  Jamie and I were still very fresh and not to mention he was a  few years -give or take- younger than me.

By the time I reached my confidants home, my eyes burned from tears and my hyperventilating chest would not recoil.  Janet in her loving way, walked me into the living room through those oh so familiar patio doors and hugged me. In this instance she had no clue what or why I was upset, but it didn’t matter, she gave me the classic hug/backrub move and I melted into her presence.  Through weeping sobs and gasping for some much needed oxygen, I explained to my friend the precarious dilemma I had got myself into.

Janet waited it out, she was patient with me. She listened to my fears and insecurities, she started listening  to my worry about ‘what others would think’, this is when she stopped me in mid-sentence. As soon as I had said it, I knew she would not have tolerance for that kind of mumbo-jumbo and I immediately regretted the words that had come spewing out of my too-narrow-minded-for-Janet mouth. She began with;

“Lindsay, you are a very strong 22 year old woman. You are not an 18 year old girl anymore. You can make your own decisions, and I know that you are capable of making a choice that will create happiness for you. You are what matters here. ”  I thought I was in the home stretch when she stopped and took her mug of tea in her hands. Just as she reached the piping hot cup against her lips, Janet lifted her head and started again, “And what the HELL is this about you worrying what everyone else thinks! You need to do what makes you happy, you will never be happy if you tiptoe through life adhering to what everyone thinks and wants you to be! So have you thought about it? Do you feel like you could have a child at this time?”

“Well I don’t know, what do you think.” My look was of a sheepish and scared brand, something Janet never appreciated seeing me wear.  The prevailing stare the woman gave me in that one split second, was a look I will never forget. The significance and seriousness deep within her eyes, came flying out and bitch slapped me from my funk and back to reality.  “Well ya, I really think I could do it. I know it will be hard, but it is something that I think I am ready for.”

“Good.” It was all she said. It was all she had to say at that very moment to make my decision valid. Janet, engrossed in her now drinkable tea asked if I had made the doctor’s appointment.

“Oh no, I’m not even sure if I am actually pregnant. I’m just a few days late and like SUPER stressed out about it!”

The laughter that came out of that woman was strident and rather infectious, allowing me to put my fretfulness on hold and join her on the lighter side.  Through chuckles and snorts, Janet told me to go to the drugstore get a test and take it, then immediately call her after.

30 minutes later Janet got a phone call confirming I was pregnant. 9 months later, my son Lars was born. Janet would not be the last person I would talk to about the stressfulness of motherhood…But she was unquestionably the first, and for this- and so many more reasons, she will always hold a unique place in my heart.

In Adoring Memory of a Remarkable Human Being, You are Greatly Missed Janet.

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