The last time you’ll see their pictures in the blog.

So now everybody knows. About Michelle’s very special project. And about my part in this journey, the blog.

Even Barb and Michelle, the IPs.

Yes, they’ve given me permission to use their first names in the blog.  So while referring to them as Madonna and Beyonce might have a great way to drive traffic to the blog, I’m happy to leave those pseudonyms behind.  

It was never my intention for Barb and Michelle to be the last to know. It just kind of played out that way. My Michelle (Hmmm two Michelle’s will be difficult to keep separate in this story but I’ll do my best) and I talked at length about when and how to discuss with them. When the time was right, I had planned to take a day off work, ask them out to lunch, and spend a quiet afternoon exploring the subject. I would get the chance to really explain my thinking, outlining my reasons and motivations for telling the tale.

We decided to broach the subject AFTER it was official — that Michelle was pregnant and it was game on.  When confirmation came from M’s doctor we were ready to have ‘that talk’. And then events got in the way. I had a business/family trip to the west coast. Michelle’s business had a surge of rush orders and her time was limited.

On top of that — Barb and Michelle had a huge project on their hands. In the space of just a few weeks, they sold their home….and bought another…and moved!  Their free time was precious, and so they remained in the dark.

Over the last few weeks, as I plugged away on entries, had the site and logo designed, and scheduled a launch date…I was getting anxious. I wanted them in on MY part of the secret. To be supportive and understanding. Or at the very least, not hating it!

As I worked on the blog late at night, my mind would begin to conjur up worst case scenarios. What if they didn’t like it? What if they hated the idea of going public with our story? What if they think I’m trying to exploit this situation for my own gain?

It was critical that the IPs were in favor of Guestwomb — much more important than I ever admitted to my Michelle. If Barb and Michelle had been opposed to the blog…..if they had not understood our reasons for sharing this story…..well, I doubt very much you’d be reading this right now.

I always knew I didn’t absolutely NEED them to approve or contribute to this journal. I could legally abide by our contract by having them remain as Beyonce and Madonna. I could soldier on, telling a one-sided story and omiting anything that involved the IPs aside from the absolute minimum. And I was preparing myself for the possibility. But not really.

Because if I didn’t have their support — I would have ended this blog right then and there. Over and out. Because the four of us have quickly progressed from simple Carrier and IP. And I wouldn’t even call what we have together as mere friendship. It’s beyond that as well.

It’s a bond that’s strong today and growing stronger every day. We feel privileged to be in their lives and to play such a part in growing their family. And I know they have similar feelings towards us.

I wouldn’t have dared let get in the way of what promises to be a special kind of relationship. If they had any concerns or doubts…..this website would be blank.

Finally I just couldn’t take the uncertainty any more. It was time to tell all. I spent the better part of three nights constructing a lengthy, detailed email, laying out all my reasons for wanting to play the part of scribe in this unique story. I ended it with the link to the intro page that I had sent out to family and friends, and invited them to explore it all.

After hitting the ‘send’ button I spent a long, agonizing day watching my email account for a response. I had a pretty tough time concentrating at work, wondering what Barb and Michelle thought of my humble blog. Many more worst case scenarios ran through my mind.

Finally that evening, the message I was hoping for arrived. They got it. They understood all of the ‘why’s behind this journal. I felt a huge sense of relief and joy. 

Going forward, Barb and Michelle might make ‘appearances’ in this blog. Or not — it’s their call. I’ve asked them to contribute as much or as little as they want. For right now, they’re happy about their portrayal in these ‘pages’ to date. And they’ll keep an open mind about how much they’re willing to share — through me — of their story. I can tell you they’ve built an amazing life together, full of love and warmth, and I hope I have the opportunity to tell you all about them.

It’s a MUCH better story than Madonna and Beyonce, believe me.

Lots of chatter in my world this week about the concept of  “support”  When people say that they “support you 100 percent” what exactly does that mean?

If it’s just the words alone — either expressed in a quick email or a hurried phone call — it means nearly nothing. It’s just too quick and easy. Too cheap.  Lovely sentiment, but empty.

But there’s a recipe to make those words mean something: add the concept of sacrifice.

Here’s something I wrote in a letter this week that sums up how I view it.

Support is not taking the easy way out. It’s not doing what is convenient or simple.

Simply answering a phone call, or expressing bland platitudes in an email = not support.

Endless talk that elicits no action = not support.

Support is going outside of your comfort zone to do selfless acts. It’s effort, action and initiative.

It’s about putting thought and empathy together and expressing that in a way that makes a difference.

It has nothing to do with the amount of money you make or spend, or the amount of airline tickets you buy.

Support almost always involves some measure of sacrifice, great or small. It might be the sacrifice of time or mindshare. It might involve lightening your wallet or bank account. Or a little dedictated time if that’s all you can — or need — to do. The sacrifice is usually different for every person. 

Support is about sacrifice with no thought of a payback in return.

It can come in all different forms and actions. Support can be taking an honest look at yourself in the mirror, realizing you’re doing things to hurt the ones you love, and making life altering changes for no other reason than to ensure others’ lives are better and more secure.

Support is what Michelle is doing to help B and M bring this child into the world.

Remember that old wine cooler brand from the 1980s — Bartles and James? Every commercial with those two old guys as the spokesman always ended with one of the them saying: “…and thank you for your support.”

That’s the way I’ll end this post too. Especially those who provide real, true support. You know who you are.