Monday, November 26, 2007

With Friends Like These

When I was pregnant, my sister-in-law told me about a great parent's group that she went to when she had her first baby nine years earlier. "Oh, it was wonderful!" she said. She made it sound like a big fat mama/baby love fest. The way she told it, mamas sat on fluffy white clouds and their little diddums were rolled up in rainbows. She made wonderful friends from that group, friends she still had nine years later.

Three weeks after the Bug was born, I was ready to give it a try. I walked into the group and got The Look. The look that says, "Good heavens. Why is she here? She doesn't even have a stroller. She's still wearing her maternity clothes? Her child is wearing *gasp* Brand X and not super-cool-indie Brand A? Oh, no. No, no, no. She does not belong. Do not look at her. Do not engage her. She'll just want to come back."

But I did go back. I went back again and again because I was determined to either find someone to hang out with or make one of those bitches be nice to me and the Bug. I called the Grinch on more than one occasion, crying, "No one likes me! No one wants to be frieeeeeeeends!"

I kept going. For a year and a half, long after the Bug had aged out of the group, I kept going. Just when I had given up hope, a mom showed up and we shared a few chuckles. She came back and we laughed even more. The next time, she brought a couple of friends and they invited me to lunch with them. I called the Grinch, breathless, "I'm going to lunch! With PEOPLE! I think.....I think they're nice and they might like us, too!" It was worse than first date jitters. Going a long time without friends will do that to you.

It's hard to believe that was a year ago. The four of us have done a lot together and become good friends. We're watching our kids grow and change and we're having new babies. We roll our eyes at the challenges brought on by toddlerhood. We laugh a LOT, usually at each other or something our kids have done.

Now it looks like my friends, (my only mom friends within "let's meet for lunch and some park time" distance) are moving on. One will be moving to China soon. Another wants to move closer to family in another state. The third wants to move to another part of town, too far for quick meet-us-at-the-park-in-10-minutes playdates. It makes me very, very sad.

I'm sad because they're moving on and I'm not and it seems like it'll be easy for them to make new friends wherever they go. I'll still be here, in my hometown. The same place I've been for 38-years. And, with the exception of the Grinch and Laura, I'll be friendless. Again.

Has anyone told you how isolating parenthood can be? It can and it sucks.

This post sounds like a big pity fest and it is. I'm happy for my friends to have new opportunities and new adventures. I'm jealous. I'll miss my friends. I get ill at the thought of going through the playgroup/parent's group wringer again.

Why can't it be as easy as it was when we were five-years-old and we could walk up to someone on the playground and ask, "Will you be my friend?"

1 comment:

Laura said...

I seem to recall that you didn't have any problems introducing yourself to the 'new girl' 20 years ago! I do understand how snobby mothers can be (and I thought that behavior ended with high school!)When I would take Jake to his first preschool, I always felt like they stared at me because I looked like death warmed over--we both know what working night shift and being sleep deprived does for you! But just smile (you know which one!) and try to kill them with kindness or at least you will smile because you are daydreaming of killing them. And you could always move to Henry County! (hahahahaha, Grinch down here! hahahahahaha)