Motherhood When Your Tribe is Hours Away


Written by Jessica Velotta Luethi

At my core, I am a small town girl from Kentucky. Family and friends have always been at the top of my priority list.  I was fortunate enough to be able to play college soccer and be introduced to some of the most amazing women during my time there. I cherish the relationships I have built with that core group of friends and have always kept them close to my heart. 

When I moved to Indiana in 2009 to pursue an internship and grad school, I never imagined to still be here 9 years later – but I guess that’s what happens when you meet the man of your dreams at Kilroys. I had left my family, my best friends, and my comfort zone behind. It was amazing falling in love in the big city, starting my career, and creating our lives here. As those things crept up on my priority list, the relationships with my “besties” were put on the back burner. My husband and I had begun creating a new circle of friends here, and although my friendships back home were still there, I wasn’t giving them as much effort or attention in this stage of life.

Fast forward a few years, and enter BABIES! 2015 was INSANE! 4 of my best friends from college, and I were all having babies that year!! 5 babies! And although it was an exciting time, there were periods of extreme loneliness for me. I was happy that my besties and I were all going through this stage of life at the same time, but saddened that they were all so close in proximity and I was so far. I was sad that I couldn’t sit on the couch in my sweats and have my girls sitting next to me every weekend, passing the pickles and ice cream and chatting about our growing bellies.

So I made a promise to myself then, that I was going to refocus some of my energy back into those relationships. I missed them so much that I decided that I needed to put in more effort. I needed to call more, text more, and stay connected. I would visit when I could, try not to miss an invitation to an event, plan events, and offer Indy as an outlet for them when they needed to get away. I wanted to be more involved in their lives and their children’s lives. I wanted our kids to grow up as besties, and with my friends as my children’s aunties! 

Fast forward a few more years, to 2017, and myself and my 2 besties were all pregnant with baby #2! Crazy right? Ok, maybe it was a little planned. These two women are my ride-or-dies, “The Trio”. The two girls who know everything (good, bad, and ugly) about me. And we once again got to go through this process “together”. SUPER COOL! So the first of the babies were born in March, to Bestie #1 (in no particular order). I remember getting the first photo and update from the proud Daddy. And although I was sooo dang excited that their baby girl was finally here and healthy, I was crushed on the inside that I wasn’t there to meet her. But I was 35 weeks pregnant with my son when she was born, there was no way I could travel and meet her, right?? Wrong!! At my next appointment, 37 weeks, I asked my doctor if I could travel the 2 and a half hours to visit, and she said yes!! So, much to the chagrin of my hubby, I packed up my, then, almost 2-year-old and drove!  I remember sitting on my best friend’s couch chatting with her and her husband, and bestie #2, about mesh undies, breastfeeding, paternity leave, and everything else under the sun. I held their sweet babe for hours as the toddlers got out every toy, ate Doritos and cookies, and literally trashed their living room. Amidst the chaos of screaming toddlers and a crying newborn, I remember being at such peace that day. I was right where I needed to be in that moment- making an effort to see my friends. And I am thankful every day that I made that trip down. 

10 days after that visit, bestie #1’s husband was killed in the line of duty. Again, now at 39 weeks pregnant, I made the trip down to Kentucky, to see my best friend, but this time in a much different setting. This time we weren’t talking about diaper rash or cradle cap, but sobbing, holding each other and trying to figure out how she was to move forward with a 2-year-old and a 5 week old. As I watched my best friend cry and breakdown over her husband’s body, I made a new promise to myself, and to him, that I would recommit even more time and energy to keeping her close and supporting her through her darkest days! Three days later, I gave birth to my son. A week after that, he made his first of many trips to Kentucky. 

Now, it’s not always pretty and I’m far from being a “perfect” friend. Getting 2 toddlers to cooperate during a phone call (although we usually try to coordinate our phone chats while the kids are sleeping) or keeping them entertained on a 2 and a half hour drive can cause some stress, anxiety, and lots of tears, but it’s worth it! There are times life gets hectic and I don’t touch base for weeks, or I can’t make the trip down for a kids birthday party, but I know with a little grace, and a lot of love, my friends always have my back. We have held each other up during divorces, deaths, and hard times. We have rejoiced with each other at weddings, during pregnancies, and births. We get busy and my focus goes somewhere else, but my heart is so happy and so full being around the women that know me best.

I saw a quote the other day from a fellow Kentuckian and the OG GOAT, Muhammad Ali. It said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” So although I don’t see my friends as many days as I would like to, I can still put in the effort to make our visits and our chats count.

So call that friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Take the spontaneous trip to visit. Plan a weekend getaway for you and your girlfriends. Life is too short to let good relationships and friendships slip away. Cherish your loved ones, surround yourself with positive people who lift you up, and keep them on the top of your priority list!