“She needs to have a few drinks and cry a little – then she’ll be perfect”

Tom Ford

(Apologies in advance for how endlessly mushy and gushy this post will be)

If you have seen me over the past week, you might have noticed a spring in my step, that I am walking a little taller. That is because I am now a godmother. Or, as I have frequently, mistakenly (and more than a little bit awkwardly) called myself, a fairy godmother.

My beautiful best friend, Mary-Ellen, gave birth to a baby girl last week and has asked me to be godmother. I am so endlessly happy that I can’t quite put it into words. But I will certainly have a cry about it at you, as I have done a number of times in the past week.

If you know me, or have spent more than 10 minutes in my company, you will have heard me talk about Mary-Ellen. How brilliant she is, how much I love her and how I still can’t believe that she is my best mate.

We met when I was 20 (I’m 33 and a half now), working in a coffee shop in Belfast city centre. She started working there a little while after me, and when I first met her I didn’t quite know how to feel about her. She was beautiful, cool, looked amazing with her hair in plaited pigtails (I tried to copy her, I looked ridiculous) and dead smiley. So smiley and lovely in fact, that I decided she must be acting. No one could just naturally be all of those things, right? I tell her now that I just found her a bit much when we first met, but the truth is that I REALLY wanted to be her friend, but didn’t think I was cool enough. I’m still not convinced that I am.

But, we bonded the way lots of women in their 20s do; over vodka (which we are both now banned from drinking), cider, crying about boys and talking about clothes. We’d head out most Saturday nights after work, still in our uniforms, and sit in the very fancy bar next door to the coffee shop becoming best mates.

Those boozy nights became the foundation of a friendship that has kept me sane throughout the years that followed.

Having a best friend is one of life’s greatest joys. You don’t need to tell them secrets, because anything you Have done which you might not want to admit to is something that they will have experienced at your side. If a relationship is going wrong, or someone isn’t treating you the way you deserve to be treated, your best friend will step in and let that person know where to go. They will greet unsuitable suitors with a simple “NO”. Equally, they will know when you need to go through certain things, and let you live it, even when they know it’s a terrible idea, but will be waiting at the end to listen and not land out with “I told you so”.

They will agree that not only should you definitely have a fringe, but will cut one in for you right that moment. There could well come a point when your style becomes so similar that every time one of you goes to buy something, you will always lift a second for your best mate. They will teach you how to backcomb your hair and try to show you how to do winged eyeliner. Then do it for you because I’ll never master that.

As fun as being in our 20s were, I think it is in this particular moment that I am really seeing my best friend shine in the way she should be. Many of our boozy nights were spent talking about the families we hoped to have one day.

The day she arrived in the shop to tell me that she was expecting her first baby was a realisation of one of those chats. And seeing that beautiful boy run around now, calling me Auntie Claire, telling me jokes and stories is one of the best things I could wish for. Sitting on the floor, chatting with the child that your friend couldn’t wait to have is…well, its class.

As is knowing that your best friend has found a truly great man. Mary-Ellen’s husband, Seamus, is not only gorgeous, he is kind, smart, patient, funny, generous, talented, hard working, a brilliant Dad and pretty much everything that you would hope someone you love would find in a husband.

Being asked to be godmother to my best friend’s little girl is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me. I have been insufferably pleased with myself since I was asked. I look forward to returning the favour one day, but until then, every time I see a tiny pink dress, or anything with a peter pan collar, I will buy it for my god daughter.

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