Thursday, October 17, 2013

Happy 50th birthday to my lovely friend, Kristin!

Kristin with her husband Roger and daughter Aimee,
 at a Precious Beginnings event
On Friday my friend Kristin celebrates her big 5-0, one year ahead of me. I've known Kristin for over 15 years now...we met over e-mail when she and her husband had twin girls, Aimee and Olivia. Olivia tragically died soon after birth, and Aimee spent several weeks in the NICU. Little did I know back then she would become one of my closest friends.

At the hospital chaplain's retirement party
We served on the hospital's NICU Family Advisory Board and together with several other families, we cofounded a nonprofit to support other NICU parents, Precious Beginnings. For several years, Kristin and I served as co-presidents of the board, and I loved serving in that role with her. I remember late nights after board meetings, sitting in Kristin's car, chatting on and on! Hers is one of the close friendships I made, forged in the shared trauma of the NICU experience and nurtured through years of follow-up discussions of parenting preemies. When I had all those miscarriages, Kristin and others were able to offer support in a way other friends could not. They knew what loss felt like.

Co-presidents and friends, around 2000
Kristin and Aimee holding Kieran in the hospital
When I was finally able to get and stay pregnant, Kristin was also pregnant. Her son Jonah was born three months before Kieran. It was fun to be pregnant at the same time. 

I realized when I started pulling these photos together that we celebrated Kristin's 40th birthday at our house in 2003, too! 

Kristin's 40th birthday in 2003

With our friends Laurie and Catherine, all NICU veterans
Then Kristin and her family moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to her family, and I missed her tremendously. We got together a few times during that period, but she was really busy with her job and we didn't have much contact.   

Kristin visiting Oregon

Another visit and backyard dinner
I was so thrilled when they moved back to Oregon! We picked up where we left off and have continued to nurture our friendship through long lunches, more celebrations, support through difficult times, and the treasure of shared experiences and values.

Celebrating my birthday soon after Kristin and Roger returned to Oregon

Another girlfriend lunch

And one with a nongirlfriend guest!
Kristin is a nursing professor and I'm sure she is an exceptional teacher and mentor. I greatly admire the way she juggles all of her various roles--nurse, teacher, mom, wife, sister/daughter, and friend. She is fun, bright, compassionate, and generous.

A few years ago we started a book group together. Although it's evolved some since its inception, it's still going strong and we love hanging out and talking about books with intelligent, funny women.

Book group night last winter
Kristin is the only person I know who reads more than I do. I was so excited to tell people at the last book group that I had a copy of J.K. Rowling's new detective novel out of the library, thinking I was so ahead of the trend, and she of course had already read it!

Last night we celebrated Kristin's birthday at book group. I'm so grateful for her friendship and am honored to know her!

With the birthday girl
Happy birthday, Kristin!

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