Monday, January 28, 2008


Homeschooling Playdate

Back in December we went on a homeschooling playdate, during which we met three families we hadn't previously known. I particularly liked one of the moms, Tammy, and her five-year-old son, Nicholas. Although at this stage of life I'm almost too busy to pursue new friendships, I know I must make playdate commitments for the sake of my children. So, we had Tammy and her son over in early January for a playdate, which went very well, and today they reciprocated and had us over. Again, all went well and we made plans to go together soon to a fossil museum in Akron.

I am a soft-spoken, sincere, almost shy person, and I tend to feel most comfortable with other soft-spoken women. While I can laugh with and enjoy rowdier ladies, at special-event settings, their sarcastic, dry humor wares on me, so I rarely pursue friendships with them, and vice versa. Since moving to Ohio in mid-2005, I have now met two ladies, both in their thirties, who blend well with my personality, and who are kind to my children. Thank you, God. I give thanks because I view making new girlfriend-ships after marriage and children something of a long shot.

Lifelong Friendships

I went to high school and college in San Diego, and left behind three close, high-school girlfriends, upon leaving that city in 1990. During the fifteen years I lived in a California high desert, I become friends with only two woman I regularly keep in touch with, through e-mail only now, since we've all moved to different places. The two friendships are precious to me, indeed, but none can match the friendship I still have with one of my high-school girlfriends, Wendy.

It isn't that I have more in common with Wendy in terms of shared-interests; actually, we have much less of that. But we have more history and memories, since the friendship began when we were fourteen. We're closing in on forty-two-years-old now, so I'm amazed when I think of our nearly thirty years as friends. I can tell her anything, and I hope the reverse is true. Our friendship is a precious gift; although I have three young children and she has four, two of which are fifteen-month-old twins, we make time to connect, even though she's remained in San Diego, and I've moved twice.

As I reflect on all this, since spending pleasant time with Tammy today, I have to wonder what the future holds for our budding friendship. She is a first-year homeschooler, like me, but she only has one child, to my three. Much of my daily reality is foreign to her, and vice versa, except that we both love God and pray our way through. Her husband is a professional, bringing home a good income, so there are inequities there that might separate us. For example, she has the money for a gym membership, doesn't need to worry about bringing in a side income, and can spend a fair amount on programs for her son. We, on the other hand, are struggling mightily on a meager paycheck and currently, my husband is looking for a part-time side job, and I've got an ad running for my babysitting services, to no avail.

I'm too old and seasoned to be guilty of envy; I'm very good at counting my blessings and I'm above greener-grass discontent. That has only become true in the past several years, mind you, through God's work in my heart. Nevertheless, there will be some outings and activities I will have to say no to, due to the income disparity, which might make the friendship eventually less worthwhile in her eyes. As well, Emily will be napping for another two years at least, so that too, is limiting, in terms of our get-together options.

I have a hunch God has already used our connection with Tammy for his own purpose. She and her husband were hoping for another child, and recently received devastating fertility news. When she came to our house for the playdate in early January, I was busy as usual, chasing Emily around, keeping her out of trouble, as well as tending to the boys' needs. It's a dizzying scene, believe me. She drank it all in, and I could see the wheels turning in her head, literally. She kept asking what extra-curricular things we were involved in, and I had to repeatedly - I wasn't annoyed, just amused - say that we couldn't do this or that thing because one of the boys would be excluded due to age, or because an activity conflicted with Emily's naps. The disadvantages of having three children, and of having a baby, were not lost on her. I think perhaps, just maybe, God used our chaos to speak to her heart.

Will she be a passing ship in my life, the main purpose already having been served? Or will I be someday giving thanks for our thirty-year friendship, at the ripe old age of seventy-one? I thought I was too busy to care, one way or the other, but I guess I care some, or I wouldn't be writing about it. Strangely, this isn't actually what I set out to write about tonight. All I can do is my very best to remain open, honest, helpful, fun, and prayerful, and see what happens.

What is most amusing is how similar this whole thing seems to dating. Do other moms ever feel this way, as they navigate their way through mom connections? I feel so silly even writing about this, but I can't deny how important friendships are to my heart. I may have lost sight of that in the past few years, since becoming a busier, rarely-resting mom. Tammy is a reminder, perhaps, that one can not live on computer connection alone?

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