It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s Laina…or sap about a good friend

Because it is a bastion of journalistic integrity, I religiously read Glamour magazine. Occasionally, there’s a section featuring women and their heroines. Nine times out of ten, the woman picks her mother. While I love my mother and whole heartedly admire her ability to put up with having not one, but two, adult children move back in, I always thought a heroine should be somebody not related by blood. After all, there is only so much a person can do to ensure the continuation of free rent and/or remaining in the will…

When I was little, Princess Leia Organa was my heroine. Granted, Mary Poppins gave her a real run for her money, but Leia’s calm while in the belly of that big wormy thing in the third Star Wars movie was the real deal to an eight-year-old. Princess Leia was resourceful, calm under pressure, and even managed to kiss Harrison Ford. Impressive. In middle school, I was all about Brenda Walsh. I loved Brenda because she could be more devious than Kelly Taylor, stood up to her moralizing father, dated Dylan and put up with a goody-goody sibling. To this day, I will argue that Brenda got a bad rap. She wasn’t a diva, a drunk, or a nut job. No, she was just the high spirited one in a world of Walshes. Hillary Clinton won my admiration in high school. Honestly, I’m not sure why. Maybe it was our shared a love for the headband. Today, I look to my immediate surroundings for my icons. While the list of women I admire is long, one really stands out: my friend Laina.

Laina’s one of those people who is herself. For good, for bad, and even when I want her to shut up because she’s crushing my fantasy of living a tiki hut with Heath Ledger, she’s Laina. For solid advice or to hear the hard truth, I can go to her. She’s good for everything from “the hair cut looks terrible” to (MOM, skip this part) “dump him, he has a small wanker.” (MOM, I told you to skip that part!!!!!!) When I need a friend to share a bottle of Pucker or to teach me about life outside of the outer belt, she won’t let me down. Yet, of all people, I never expected Laina to teach me about love.

During the time I’ve know her, she’s always loved her husband (and she’s trained him well—he has the best phone manners). Yet, that’s nothing too extraordinary. I know lots of people who love their spouses, even when they aren’t as telephonically suave as Laina’s husband. When her son made his appearance our last year in law school, I wondered when Laina would stop talking about him incessantly. Apparently, a mother’s love is stronger than the trauma of caring for an infant during the bar exam. Laina still glows when she talks about her son and he’s the anchor of her world. I couldn’t imagine what she would be like today without him, let alone who she would be if she hadn’t gone through the waddling, fat, cranky pregnant lady stage. But the thing that makes Laina so amazing is that she (and her husband) made the decision to try to adopt a child.

While I’ve watched her deal with this process, I’ve often wondered if she was insane or the best person I know, or a bit of both. There have been the physical things involved in all this: extensive paperwork, home studies, and endless phone calls. It’s a time suck of the first order and that alone would have been a deterrent for me. But I think the emotional aspects are even worse than nine months of being knocked up, plus labor, multiplied by infinity. A weaker person (like moi) couldn’t do it. Each time a potential child crosses her path, she gives them a piece of her heart. Many times, she’s put her capacity to extend love to the ultimate test. When each potential adoption doesn’t work out, it’s just that much worse. But she sticks with. It seems like Laina’s been trying to adopt forever, and I’m only a spectator. By rights, Laina should be an emotional sludge pool by now. I guess they don’t come any stronger than her. She’s persistent and the Will of Laina has got to pay off in the end.

The child that eventually ends up in her home will have my heroine for a mother. A loudmouth, smart ass, opinionated woman. A person of integrity and honesty and the unique ability to eat a Cinnabon in a single gulp. A lady with a boundless heart.

Good luck, Laina.

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One Response to “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s Laina…or sap about a good friend”

  1. Laina Says:

    OMG, I don’t know what to say. This could possibly be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. Love ya, sweetie!

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