Over five years ago, my friend Maya and her family moved to Israel. Maya and I became close when we were both navigating the crazy life of prematurity – me with Madeline, and her with her twin daughters. Our girls were born just two days apart, and with all three of them more than two-and-a-half months early, we had much in common. I felt so lucky to have found someone who really understood what I was going through. And after Madeline died, she was there for me a million different ways, both literally and figuratively.

After her family left New York, we did our best to keep in touch. The ten hour time difference meant we were always struggling to find time when we were both awake, or when one of us wasn’t making dinner while the other was getting her kids ready for school. We tried different texting apps and internet chats and, of course, good old email. Whenever I heard from her, I was relieved. It was a scary time in Israel. I worried about her, a lot.

We thought it was crazy that we always seemed to pregnant at the same time. First Maddie and her twins, then we both miscarried within weeks of each other, and finally, we had our third babies only six weeks apart. Maya once described our oldest daughters as soul sisters, but I think that applies to us, too.

Just a few days before Maya’s family moved, Annabel and I flew to NYC to visit them. Annabel was such a little chunky four-month-old nugget:

Annabel and Maya

I honestly thought that was going to be the last time I ever saw her, but this summer I received the best news ever – she and her family were moving back to New York. They arrived last month, and seeing them was the number one thing I wanted to do when we were in The City. When she and her girls walked into our hotel room, I grabbed Maya and hugged her tight. I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing her!

Maya’s girls understand English but don’t speak it well, so we weren’t sure how well they and Annabel would get along. We shouldn’t have worried – we’re not sure how, but they quickly figured out how to communicate, and soon were all laughing over Annabel’s inability to open an umbrella (she’s never needed to open one before!).

you can stand under my umbrella

Of course, ice cream is a language that every child speaks.

The language of ice cream

We also went out to their house in Brooklyn, and while the adults chatted and I cooed over her gorgeous little two-year-old, the girls played “farm” in Maya’s backyard:

playing "farm"

Before we left, we got a picture of the four of them together (I can’t wait to have James in the next group shot):

the girls

I’m so happy to have Maya’s family back in the States. It was so wonderful to look her in the eyes, hear her laugh, and hug her and her kids. I especially love that our girls got along so well, despite their communication barrier (Annabel is already asking when she can go back to their house). After having them over 7,500 miles away, 2,500 feels like they’re practically down the street.

the girls

Welcome home to our soul sisters!

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