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."