My girlfriend, Laura and I, took our usual weekend walk this morning with our little girls for some fresh air. Ok, just kidding, we were walking to get our weekly bitching session on – I mean, it was 9am and we had basically taken on the world at that point, while her husband was still asleep and mine was, where else, preparing for a long, hard day of football.
I talk so much about the “village,” – this girl is definitely helping to hold up the walls in mine. She’s thoughtful, kind, and a very, VERY good mother. Plus, she is always down for a walk and some venting, as she lives right behind us.
On our stroll in the quiet, modest, development that we call home, we were stopped in our tracks by a car that seemed to appear out of nowhere, window rolled down, driver looking for answers.
Once close enough, I noticed a car seat, a mommy about my age, and a giant smile that was basically saying “please be my friend.”
“I know this is seriously creepy but I’m new to the neighborhood, and I see you guys have young girls, and I do too, and I’d love to join you on a walk someday.”
Creepy? Not so much, at least not for me – because naturally, I empathized with her decision to make an attempt at connecting with us. Gutsy and smart would probably be the words that I’d use to describe this attempt. Brave.
Brave, because, when you see two young moms in cute workout gear, aviator sunglasses, talking a mile a minute and clearly trying to break a sweat and burn some calories, you probably wouldn’t know what to expect, right?
“We walk ALL the time,” I told her. “We live just down the next block, and my daughter is the same age as yours.”
The happiness in her face was so evident. It seemed as it took everything in her power to not jump out of the car and hug me. I instantly felt so good, so helpful – like I had handed over the keys to a brand new, very comfortable home in MY village, and she couldn’t wait to move in.
You see, it is hard as hell to make friends at my age. Only 3 years ago, I moved to the state of Florida without having a single girlfriend to call my own – and it took me a good two years to build a solid core of girlfriends that were right for me. It took guts, it took feeling silly each time I introduced myself to some one new – it even took finding a job in an area that would force me into conversations with new people just so I could start building relationships. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
Luckily for me, many of the friends that I am fortunate to call my own, are also new to the whole motherhood world. But all too often, whether at a new mommy and me class , or out for a stroll in the neighborhood, you meet that one mother who has yet to find her new mama crew. Her teammates on the mommy team, her late night texting buddies – the ones who will answer you back about your babies teething pain in the blink of an eye.
This is when extending a smile, a cell phone number, a facebook friend request becomes critical. It’s no longer about picking friends just because they look like you, dress like you, have similar interests as you or come from the same place as you. It’s about being open to mom friends from any and all walks of life, embracing the new mom who just wants another new mom to help her feel like she’s not alone – like what she’s going through is more common than she ever dreamed possible.
I am so proud to have started my Saturday by making another mama feel better about her stressful mama-morning. I am happy that I gave this girl my phone number for the next time she wants to just take a walk and a break from washing bottles, folding onesies and watching Elmo’s world. I am glad I didn’t take on the much easier, “no new friends” attitude and instead, I welcomed her, with open arms, to join my village – my no judgement zone – with no questions asked.