It was no surprise when the one night our spouses were out of town, about three hours away, my friend’s precious little girl decided she was ready to enter the world.
All I know is that suddenly my frantic husband was on the phone, “YOU NEED TO GO GET HER. NOW.”
That was the backup, backup plan -- that if she went into labor while her husband was away, I would go get her. I lived the closest to her, it made the most sense. I was to be her back-up husband.
Truly, though, it did not make sense. Why was I there, and he was not? Why was I the second person to hold his child, when he had yet to see her?
This probably was not the first time this will happen to a friend of mine -- and if it happened to them, it could very well happen to me.
Our lives are molded around the military. Most of the decisions we make stem from those made for us.
Planning? That's a joke. It never works out like you expect it to. We do not always get to be together when we want to be. Plans fall through. We improvise.
So my friend's birth experience was very different from what she expected, a far cry from the one she imagined over and over while growing her child for 10 months.
When they tell the story now, I am the “surrogate father." I held her leg while she pushed, and her husband was on speakerphone next to her ear.
It was hard not to tear up as he said, “Come on baby; you can do this. You’ve done this before. We’ve been planning this for so long. I’m right there with you.”
My friend's precious new baby girl will be just five weeks old when my husband and I move on to the next leg of our Marine Corps journey. Her mom refers to me as “Auntie Mo," an honorable name to be called. And I was able to pass on one of my genes to her in the process. The sweet babe has fairly big feet and long toes.
Have you ever been a "surrogate father" for a friend?