By Ann L.
I have friends. No, seriously, I do. Friends from college, high school, my workout friends, our neighbors, my husband’s friends’ wives, Christmas card friends, my mom’s friends, my sisters’ friends, book club friends, people I’ve known since birth, people from my last job (and every job before that) not to mention the 500+ “friends” I have on Facebook. So you get it, right? Friends… I’ve got ‘em. Big time.
And, to be honest, I have a hard time keeping up with most of them. Embarrassingly, I even struggle to stay in the loop with my very best friends. So, sad as it may seem, I cringe a teeny tiny, ever-so-slightly bit when I meet a new cool person because deep down my little inner voice is saying – “really? Don’t you have enough people on your dance card?” (Yes, my inner voice is from the late 19th century).
So as they say in the Godfather… “I’m connected” and busy as I gear up for my kids’ day to day adventures. This year my daughter attended preschool 4 days a week. Her school is small and as most people do with their oldest child – especially at the beginning of the year – I arrive early to drop off
and early to pick up, excited about her day. The other moms, babysitters, and I would gather in the foyer on those first wicked hot days – anxiously talking about the temperature and summer activities. Of course, I never wanted to open up too much or get too involved because I just didn’t. have. time. It’s possible that that’s the introvert in me vulnerably opening up about my thoughts here, but surely I’m not the only one.
Nonetheless, something happened to me last week as I was arriving oh so late again (now that it’s the end of the year) to pick up after school. A fellow mom with a no-makeup, top bun, I’ve-had-it kind of a grin – hollered out, “don’t forget we have pictures tomorrow! And your daughter’s fine, by the way. I kept my eye on her.” It almost knocked me over! This “school mom” friend was there for me and the kids and I don’t even know her name; other than Amelia’s mom. She waited and gave up her time, a part of her day for my family and me… well, I was crying inside at this point.
I was not expecting this crowd to be my daily support group; to carpool when our other child was ill, to pick ME up when I felt like I was the worst parent ever, to remind each other of upcoming soccer sign up deadlines, to comfort during the loss of a loved one, to encourage you during a new endeavor, not judge a failed Pinterest attempt and love one another’s children as you love your own.
Maybe everyone else knew this new group of friends existed. But I was surprised and thankful.
I’m sad our kids won’t go to kindergarten together next year and sad as the end of the school year encroaches, but forever grateful to have my circle of friends expanded. I realize I have 13 more years of school for our daughter (plus another 13 – and preschool – for our other child) and maybe I won’t be as tingly feeling forever, but this year I am giddy happy to be initiated into this club of unexpected friends. And to be reminded about our capacity to care for each other.
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