Princess: Me, my baby and the yoga babe | AspenTimes.com

Princess: Me, my baby and the yoga babe

Alison Berkley Margo
Aspen Princess

So the babes and I are flying out to Cali to go see Kate.

Normally I bring my pug. But now that I have a kid, I should probably bring him instead.

Sorry, Gertie. We’ll miss you.

I met Kate 10 years ago this April when I stepped off the plane in Honolulu for Bikram yoga teacher training. She was curbside at the airport waiting for me with enviably long, black, curly hair down to her waist, eyelashes like brushes and a smile with some seriously high-wattage. On the surface she looked like a hippie chick, always dressed in these handmade clothes that were macrame or knit from yarn that she probably bought at some Phish show, her ripped, dark-skinned torso always exposed. She put a lei around my neck and threw her arms around me and squealed with delight even though we’d only just met.

Despite that ethereal appearance, she’s a Jersey girl through and through who, despite her thinness, can plow through a plate of corned-beef hash like nobody’s business. She has little in the way of a filter with no topic off limits and her accent is more reminiscent of an East Coast mall rat than this exotic, beautiful creature who I never, ever tire of staring at.

Kate was part of the crew of three girls who practiced at the Bikram yoga studio in Basalt, and I came from the Aspen studio. Even though we’d never met, being from the same valley we’d gotten in touch and planned to meet up when we got there. These girls would become some of the most important people in my life, but that’s the end of the story and this is the beginning.

Feeling way too comfortable way too soon, I jumped into their car and immediately launched into a somewhat personal and confusing tale about how I’d almost been banned from coming to the training because of a column I’d written in The Aspen Times about Bikram that had somehow made its way back to Bikram headquarters in Los Angeles.

I’d written about how Bikram had moved the training from Los Angeles to Honolulu at the last minute to be with his girlfriend. What I didn’t realize, because I knew very little about Bikram the man and was only interested in the yoga, is that he was married. So before the training even began I was already tagged as a big-time troublemaker. I was the girl from Aspen who, throughout the entire training and in very public forums, was often referred to as “the girl who wrote the article.”

Even though I was probably someone not to be affiliated with, Kate welcomed me with an open mind and heart anyway. It didn’t really matter, because in the end, Kate crushed it at training. While most people withered like dead flowers after they’d been cut and stuck in a dirty vase, she thrived. Rather than be intimidated by public speaking, she loved it. When most people struggled with the rote memorization required of Bikram’s ridiculous and impossible dialogue, she embraced it, making up songs and dance moves to help her remember. When Bikram put his hand on her knee, she didn’t follow him back to his room and sue him later for sexual assault — she pushed his hand away.

When an instructor pulled her onto the podium in front of 315 people and told her to teach a posture, she rose to the occasion like Beyonce at the Super Bowl. At the end of the training, she won the Aloha Award for having the best spirit.

And that’s Kate.

When you go through an experience like that with someone, it’s like coming back from war, even though really we’d paid 10 grand and joined a cult, only we didn’t really understand that at the time.

But we all forged a friendship unlike any other I’ve ever had. The four of us are like sisters, bonded in a way that feels destined and permanent, that forces you to love the person unconditionally, to embrace their faults with their strengths and to often find them charming, if not infuriating.

Kate and I would be teachers together. We’d be students together. We’d travel together, though not as much as I would have liked. We’d grow up together, as much as you do grow up in your 20s and 30s, which can be life changing times.

She came to my wedding, and then a few years later I went to hers. And then, as if the finale in our beautiful little sitcom, we both found out we were pregnant at the exact same time.

“I’m pregnant!” she squealed on the phone one day. And then, “Are you mad?”

“Why would I be mad?” I asked. “Wait, aren’t you on the pill?”

She knew I’d been through a lot and didn’t want to hurt me, what with her apparently unstoppable fertility. “I know you’ve been waiting for this for so long.”

“Of course not. Don’t be silly.” I said. “This is going to be fun.”

Kate married a surfer and they moved to the beach. When they left, I joked, “You only get one going away party” because the curse of the Roaring Fork Valley is that people always come back.

Only she never did.

In fact, she hasn’t been here since she left, and that was two years ago. Kate’s baby girl was born two weeks after my son. And so, we’ve had this distance between us during this tremendous time in our lives, during pregnancy, and childbirth and the universe-tilting experience of watching your baby grow and change.

Despite the distance, we’ve remained close. But enough is enough.

It’s my first time traveling alone with the babe, and while I can’t put him on a leash and walk him through the airport, I can only hope he’s half as well behaved as the pug.

The Princess is actually super nervous about this. Email your best baby travel advice to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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