Gold and Silver Friendships
By the time most of us become moms we have our core group of close friends. It can be a handful or just two or three who feel more like sisters than friends. This inner circle is often composed of childhood, high school, college and work friends -bonds we’ve built along our life’s journey so far.
By Motherhood, we’re pretty set when it comes to friends with no real need (or time) to make new ones. With infants and toddlers, free time becomes so limited and precious, that it’s a challenge to even stay in touch with your besties. Emails and texts replace long phone calls and phone dates are scheduled in lieu of brunch dates.
As the kids grow a bit and make the transition from Mommy & Me classes to pre-school, a brand new social dynamic presents itself. At drop-off and pick-up there’s light chit chat with other moms. Play dates are scheduled and while the kids are off playing you find yourself in the unfamiliar territory of having to make conversation. We can all remember the play date from hell where the mom’s behavior was more appalling than that of her child, where we made a silent vow of ‘never again’ while thanking her for a ‘great time!’. We can still see the apartment that could’ve had its own reality show entitled, “Toy Hoarders.” While a handful are awful, most play dates are pretty bearable. The early conversations revolve around the school and classroom dynamics. Different play dates, different moms, similar conversations.
When you least expect it, you’re chatting and laughing with a mom, and when your child asks if it’s time to go home soon, you find yourself shooing her away so you can hear the end of a very funny story. As you walk home and ask if she had a good time, you realize that she wasn’t the only one and that you’re actually looking forward to the next (mom) play-date.
Over the course of the next few months, something unexpected happens. You stumble into a friendship. The play dates continue, but the conversations are no longer solely about your kids. You start talking about all the different topics in life that you talk to with your ‘real friends’. You begin confiding and listening. Suddenly, you become friends on Facebook or find yourself exchanging emails when something funny happens or when you need a suggestion for a book or a restaurant. Next, you get together with the whole family, with husbands and siblings meeting.
Eventually, you decide that getting together without the kids would probably be a lot of fun. So you grab coffee, or lunch, meet for a girls’ night of cocktails and even schedule a double date. Before you know it, you stop referring to them as ‘my daughter’s friend’s mom,” but instead as ‘my friend, Diane.’ These friendships are easy and effortless. You have your kids and their school in common. You love raising your kids right here in the Big Apple as opposed to in the suburbs. You have similar schedules and most times you live within a few blocks of each other, which makes getting together quick and easy, with little advance planning necessary.
I remember during my single days, I was told by many wise (married) friends that it’s when you’re not looking for something that you often find something great. This holds true for the unexpected gift of ‘mommy’ friends. Don’t get me wrong, there’s something uniquely special and irreplaceable about old friendships. The ones where you’ve seen the person through a million different phases and hairstyles. You have history with them. You’ve weathered the years together, celebrating the milestones, and your loyalty is rock solid. Your new friends may not have all of that yet, but they have their own chapter that has just started to be written.
My daughter is a Girl Scout and they end each meeting with the following:
Make new friends
But keep the old.
One is silver and the other is gold.
A circle is round,
It never ends,
That’s how long
I want to be your friend.
Here’s to our treasured old and golden friendships and the unexpected gift of the newer, silver ones.
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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