Mommies and Me
Halfway through my kindergarten year, my family moved across town and my sister and I began attending a new school. On our first day, my mom dropped us off and helped me get settled into my new classroom. That afternoon would be the first time I rode a school bus. All day I was looking forward to sitting next to my sister as we rode to our new home together. Big Sis had other plans when she spotted her new friend, Adina, and stuck me in a seat with Nikki, Adina’s little sister. Tears fell from both of our eyes as our five-year old hearts were broken by our older siblings. The tears didn’t last for long, but our friendship has. Thirty years later, Nikki is very much a part of my life, and I cherish the day we were forced into friendship.
Meeting your “best friend” on the first day of kindergarten is the stuff that suburban fairy tales are made of. Luckily for me, I got to be the main character and have a lifetime of memories that add to the collection of stories. Through the years, the cast of characters has grown to include a colorful array of besties. Let’s skip over the unsavory teenage years and jump right into mommyhood, the latest volume in this series of tales.
Being a parent brings out the best in all of us. But let’s be honest, it also brings out the very worst, at times. The pressures of life are all that more real as we work hard to raise our little people. Being a working mom adds an additional layer of time management, guilt, and stress. Having a system of support is crucial to being successful and grounded.
My evening commutes are often spent chatting with one of my lifers, and much of the conversations revolve around our growing families. We can skip over the formalities and get straight to business. There is no judgment - just unconditional support. If my girlfriend is trying to make dinner or wrangle the kids into the bath, she doesn’t have to be on her best behavior while I’m holding the line. She can talk in a less-than-chipper voice with no worries. Conversely, if I’m running late and have 20 minutes to get Micah fed and bathed, I know my girls won’t fail me in suggesting a last minute meal idea. Popcorn and scrambled eggs once proved to be a delicious dinner for my little man. (The popcorn served as both the grain and veggie!) See how that non-judgment thing works? Only true friendships can escape it.
The challenges of parenting cannot be faced alone and I am fortunate that I have a small, but strong, support system in place. My mommy network is made up of oldies but goodies, work mates who understand the perils of being working parents, and a new crew of moms with children Micah’s age. There are ladies I see on a daily basis and those who I keep up through modern day conveniences like Facebook and Skype. I cherish them all and don’t think I could make it without each of my special little momma bears in my life. Whether we meet for coffee on a lazy Sunday, get the kids together for a day at the park, or spend the evening catching up via messenger, my success as a parent is deeply connected to my network of friends.
Young girls use a system of ordinal numbering to rank their friendships- at least that’s what we did in my neck of Suburbia! I can hear my younger self saying, “Nikki is my first best friend, Jana is my second best friend, …” Many girl dramas have flared over that classification system. If I had to place value my friendships now, I would replace the numerals with classifications such as “the friend I can wear faded yoga pants around,” “the friend who will drop anything to talk,” “the friend who had three children and has been there, done that,” and so on. I couldn’t rank my friendships in any order other than those I see throughout the year and the ladies I miss terribly between visits. I need my friends. I love my friends. I am a better mom, wife, and most importantly, friend, because of these ladies. Thanks, Mommies!