Mark has this friend, Matt, that he has known since he first moved to W-S. They were both in very frustrating, unfulfilling jobs as a waiter and bar tender at a franchise steak house that had just opened, both looking for something better. It wasn’t that the restaurant was bad, in fact we still talk about the cheeseburgers sometimes, but neither man had ever envisioned himself starting off life with a career in the chain restaurant business. Matt is a visionary in the world of food and drink, and Mark was about to marry me and didn’t feel totally comfortable “supporting a family” on tips. They gravitated to one another there out of necessity, finding a common sense of humor and common planes of thinking, so to speak, and became quite good friends. Mark got his job and left, and shortly thereafter Matt was offered an opportunity to open a bar and make it into precisely the thing which he had always envisioned, and he left.
Matt and Mark have stayed friends and now Matt is engaged to this fantastic girl Erin who is a vegetarian and works at the Humane Society getting dogs adopted, so good for him I couldn’t have even written her up out of my own imagination, and we live about two miles away from each other. They came to see us in the hospital when Jack was born twice, the second time bringing mixed Caribbean cocktails which I had requested months ago, hidden in a bag, and then again the week we came home. They come by and sit around with us while we take care of a new baby, and on Saturday when downtown was exploding with foot traffic because of a food festival, they hung around with us and our stroller all afternoon. Afterward we went to the bar (with Jack strapped to Mark’s chest) and sat in the corner – something perhaps we never would have done were it not Matt’s bar – and he made bourbon drinks for Mark, who never knows exactly what he wants.
I got to thinking about how spending time with them makes me feel normal somehow, like the fact that I am now a mother doesn’t mean that I’m not young and fun anymore. They do not treat Jack as a new appendage to be dealt with, worked around. They just come on in and pick him up, talk to him, treat him how we treat him. It’s so lovely having them around, so lovely having friends that really love, enjoy and have a genuine interest in our kid – our family. We’ve gotten into the habit of referring to “Uncle Matt” when we talk to Jack, which we didn’t even get permission to do. I mean, he has his own “real” nieces and nephews. But I’ll bet in a few years when Jack starts to be able to think a little more shrewdly he’ll want to know whose brother is Uncle Matt?