Everyone grows

This weekend we attended classmate birthday party number 674 of the new year.

Okay, so it was 3. Though as I hustled the girls out the door in their increasingly unfancy party clothes it sure felt like 674.

But then, a few minutes after arriving, something magical happened.

I didn't feel weird. I didn't feel awkward and uncomfortable, insecure or judged. What I felt was surrounded by friends.

Maybe it's just that over time, as our children get older and demand less of our attentions, we're starting to get to know each other beyond Hey, There's That Mom In Our Class. Maybe it was seeing one mother I like bouncing Thalia on her knee while I tended to Sage. Or seeing another one lift someone else's baby out of the Ergo carrier to give her a needed break. Even UberMom, who has kind of intimidated me to death from day one, was absolutely someone I could see grabbing a coffee with after class one day.

There was something beautiful and comforting about the 12 of us knee-to-knee in the basement playroom, watching our kids jump up and down to the music, feeding off each other's energy. There was something incredible about the realization that all of our kids really seem to like each other too, despite being thrown in an afternoon preschool class with little bonding them together besides year of birth and the ability to scrape together the tution.

Some in the group threw around the idea of a childfree "potluck" (oh God, how suburban does that sound?) and one of the parents pointed out that our date was the night before a school function.

"Is that too much school stuff in a row?" she asked.

"Nah," several people responded. "It seems just fine."


Blogger SUEB0B said...

Funny how elusive that feeling is. I'm glad you found it. I kind of did the same thing in church today. I have been bashing up against some of the ideas some people in my church promote (that "Secret" idiocy again) but today I just laid it down and enjoyed being there with them all.

1/25/09, 11:16 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

Wait until she's in middle school. Sweet Jesus.

1/25/09, 11:59 PM  
Blogger bernthis said...

i loved it when my kid went to preschool and the older she gets and the less on guard I need to be has allowed me to get to know some of the other moms much better and I really enjoy it.

1/26/09, 12:47 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

To think . . . they could be *friends*, wow and ack all at the same time. Glad you've got a good thing going!

1/26/09, 2:25 AM  
Blogger NG said...

Oh how lucky you are. I still feel like a red-headed step child every time I go to a function like that. Maybe someday. Sigh.

1/26/09, 7:03 AM  
Blogger roni said...

my son is in 1st grade now and i count his preschool friends as some of our closest. we moved to town the month before he started and somehow we got lucky with a really great preschool and a terrific class. there's something about that group. it started slowly because i felt a bit guarded but eventually got to know and love them. we still get together even though our kids are scattered around at different schools. you're very lucky you've found it.

1/26/09, 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife went through a similar revelation. There was a time she insisted on me attending these parties with our daughter because she felt so uncomfortable, now she actually looks forward to them as a way to getting together w/ some of these same mothers.

1/26/09, 10:00 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

i'm so glad that awkward feeling has changed into friendship for you.

i'm still getting there...but it's definitely better. the more playdates i arrange (have to be weekends...because of that pesky job thing i have) the more the moms of my kids' friends recognize me :)

1/26/09, 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am usually the odd duck of parents. Too young when my daughter was little, I always felt intimidated by other moms. Now, I just look like a lunatic most days, but I'm okay with that so I am more comfortable and friendly. I will tell you that my mom friends and I have a monthly potluck sans kiddos (and we are *so* far from suburbanites!). We use it as a lifeline, something to keep us going.

1/26/09, 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't gotten this with the little angel's new school parents yet, but I still travel 20 miles to see the old school parents, even when she's not along. They are like family to me, especially since I don't have family in town. They've taken over for me when I needed them, celebrated my marriage, celebrated the book, celebrated my life. I've watched them make decisions about their families, their houses, schools. It's a unique bond. I'm so glad you've found it. It makes parenting easier.

1/26/09, 11:44 AM  
Blogger The Mother said...

It takes a very special kind of person to feel comfortable with other moms at these functions. For us natural introverts, the experience is almost always painful.

So many young moms feel that there's something wrong with them when they don't fit in. We should share our trepidation more often.

Wait, if we talk to each other, does that make us less introverted?

1/26/09, 12:16 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Love that feeling. It's so hard to get to that place. Cheers to you for reaching it 4 years earlier than I did!

1/26/09, 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Roni; we became wonderfully close with our preschool friends. This means that we don't have to bemoan our boring "after kids" social lives like some people do. We have weekly, boozy, gourmet dinner parties with these people who we like so much, and the kids (now 5-7) all know each other and play together peacefully (for the most part). Embrace it. It's a great gift to actually be friends with your kids' friends' parents.

1/26/09, 12:53 PM  
Blogger Wicked Step Mom said...

I am so glad that you found that feeling. Maybe there is hope for me. I always feel like I am being judged because the girls don't look like me.

1/26/09, 7:15 PM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I know, I never thought I'd become friends with the moms of my daughter's friends. But I did.

1/27/09, 1:00 AM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

It's kind of like dorm-mates. You're thrown together through circumstance, initially you can't imagine you'll have anything in common, and then, after sharing life altering experiences, you realize one day that they truly are your best friends.

So, definitely do the sans kids potluck, or go crazy and go barhopping together, but if the comforts there go for the friendship because you'll be amazed how much you'll fall back on eachother in the coming years.

1/27/09, 4:07 AM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

You lucky girl. Hold tight to those friends...

1/27/09, 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know That feeling all too well. From the time I moved to this town, expecting my first daughter, putting her (and the sister born 2 days short of daughter the first's 2nd birthday) in Parent's Day Out, Pre-K, and now to a private university prep school for daughter the 1st, there are just some mothers who thrive on trying to make me and others like me feel inferior.
It hurt my feelings at first, then it made me feel angry, but now, it makes me laugh.
The major offenders are now learning that as they struggle to make that $2K a month mortgage payment, I own my home and my 3 vehicles. They went to college for 4 years to obtain their Mrs. degree; I had my doctorate before my children were born.
I chuckle as their chubby behinds bounce on the backs of their high-horses.
My best friends from elementary school help me keep my sense of humor.
Ame I. in TN

1/27/09, 11:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Somehow my "school (daycare) friends" have replaced my "before kids friends" and I'm really not so sad about it, in fact they somehow seem more intelligent...or have I really grown up?!

1/28/09, 11:48 PM  

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