Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis
My children are so far apart in age that it often feels like we are starting completely fresh again. There are several things that happen when you wait ten years to have another baby. One is that you end up with multiple sets of friends.
- The first set is the ones you have carried with you since before babies entered your world. These are your friends that you have had since your birth, or maybe just since college, or your first job, whatever. These are you secret holders and you guard their friendship with your life because they know too much.
- The second set of friends you have are your work friends. These people have no idea of who you were before you started working with them. They have only seen your children twice in person. However, they know every story, in detail, about those children and your husband because you spend every lunch break with them. You never see this set on weekends, because they are in a totally different place in life than you and it would just be weird.
- You have your friends from church. Bless them. They will rally and bring casseroles to your front door when you are ill and they babysit your kids just to let you sleep. They are awesome, but you hold back from them just a little. Can’t let all the people in the church know just how dysfunctional your little family really is. Getting the old school friends in the same room with church friends is one of your biggest nightmares.
- You also have the friends you have collected along the way that have children your oldest child’s age. They are skilled and experienced resources that you have come to treasure.
- And finally you have your newest friendships — the ones with children the age of your youngest. These girls will keep you young. They still have all the energy that you did ten years ago, and bless them, they pretend not to notice that you are old enough to be….well, that you are a lot older.
Group 1, 2, and 4 love to tease you about hanging with group 5, but you don’t care because friends are friends and God knows we need a big ol’ village to help raise these children, don’t we? Because, life is hard and many of the lessons are learned on the playground! But what are we teaching? Even more importantly, what are they learning?
At three, my son could not grasp the idea of playing with more than one friend at a time. He was best friends with whomever was in the room with him first. When the rest of the children arrived for a playdate he demanded that they go away, he and Child A were already best buddies. Each time, I pulled him to the side and explained that it was okay to have more than one friend and that playing was more fun when we invite more people. Should his loyalty be rewarded? Or is it easier to just be satisfied and content with whomever is in the room.
He begged to go to the park one day when it was beautiful outside. It is not uncommon for us to run into friends there. I explained to him on the way that we may not know anyone this time. I had not called anyone beforehand. He assured me it was okay. As we drove up, I saw several children playing but did not recognize a single one. His response, “Mommy, look! All my new best friends are here.” Yes, indeed they were. He got out and they all played without any awkward introductions. A couple of hours later we departed and left the new best friends. He didn’t know a single name, but he looked for them each time we returned.
Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/little-boy-playing-in-the-sand-6459/