Allison was a beautiful ray of sunshine in my life.  The life of an Army wife can get lonely at times – moving around so much, searching for new friends, and trying to make a strange house and new town feel like home.  A mil-spouse herself, Allison knew the struggle, and reached out to my husband the very first weekend we moved a few houses down from her in Montgomery, Alabama.  She invited us on a blind friend date with her and her husband, Justin.  It wasn’t long into our first dinner together that I knew we hit the friend and neighbor jackpot.  It was easy to be drawn to Allison.  She was incredibly witty and had an amazing ability to make everyone around her feel welcome, included, and loved.  I knew we would be lifelong friends.

With both of us expecting our first child, Allison due a few months before me, we had a lot of similar experiences that year in Montgomery.  We shared pregnancy together, eating cupcakes regularly, waddling around the neighborhood, and alternating as the designated driver so our husbands could enjoy drinking for two on the weekends.  Allison’s career as an early childhood educator, coupled with adoration for her niece and nephews, portrayed her love and experience with little ones.  I trusted her baby sense, and copied everything she did.  I chose the same OB group, the same stroller and car seat, even the same nursing tanks and nipple shields.  I wanted to be just like her.  She was adorable, healthy, smart, funny, loyal, supportive, and oh so sweet.  Every time she greeted me with my giant belly, she said, “You look beautiful!”  Of course I didn’t think so when I looked in the mirror, but she made me feel so good.  Allison was a great friend.  She handled pregnancy and motherhood beautifully…on the outside.

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