Will You Be My Friend?

It was a crisp November day, and I had finally gotten the courage to make it out to my local La Leche League meeting. I’d been attending the local attachment parenting group, but had yet to make a connection. In fact, I felt completely out of place. I considered myself to be an “attachment” parent, but in the shadows of the other women in the room, I felt like I was just a fraud. Maybe this place would be my home, maybe I would finally find myself a friend who had kids, who understood the journey of motherhood I was on, and I could start to be social again. Instead of a complete recluse.

Lifting a tiny Potato out of the car, I took a deep breath and crossed the road to the meeting place.

* * * * * * * * * *

I browsed Twitter, and Facebook for local groups to take the kids to. A local organization had recently tweeted a me about their function and membership. I found myself sighing with frustration and feeling all too desperate to connect with someone, anyone in this area. Edmonton had once been my home, and I had once known a lot of people. Now it felt like a new city, a new place, and that I was entirely, all alone.

A good friend had suggested going to La Leche League again, and I had contemplated it for a quick moment. Truth is, Girlie has only nursed once in the last month, and even then, it was a quick check to see if her beloved “bab” still had any milk. I wasn’t technically classified as a nursing mother any longer. Since we had no intention to extend our family, I couldn’t even use the ploy of a possible nursling in the next year or so.

All the local AP groups scared me. I was worried about judgment, about not fitting in, about crossing paths with someone who I might not like. About not being crunchy enough, about the snacks in my bag, or the clothes my kids were wearing (or in most cases, not wearing). I didn’t want to endure the anxiety, the nervousness, the potential Mommy Drama, and I wasn’t even sure if I had the energy to spend an entire morning being the new Mom at a local playgroup.

Frustrated, I closed the browser and chastised myself for being incredibly socially inept.

* * * * * * * * * *

“She is so smart”, I thought, as I listened to the ladies in front of me debate about germs. One of them, the one I was admiring was in grad school, and had the most adorable daughter who was about Potato’s age. I wanted her to be my friend, but I assumed that she was just one of those Mom’s I would be forced to silently crush on from afar.

I’m not sure how it happened, but suddenly this Smart Mom was my friend. I was at her house cheering for her when she was accepted into Med School. We made dates for coffee, snacks, and our children. Suddenly we had added to our group, two more women, one who was incredibly generous and graceful, another who was so honest it was refreshing. Our kids all got along. We all got along, amazingly.

Our summers were filled with playdates, BBQ’s, laughter, advice, and friendship. I loved knowing I had my people. Mom people, the ones I could text when I was having a bad day. The ones who would talk to me for hours on the phone. The ones who I could trust my kids with.

I knew I was lucky. I remembered how lonely I had been. I didn’t want to lose any of them. They were my Mom Family.

* * * * * * * * * *

My heart sunk with this weight that one could only know was homesickness. I felt like one day we were going to wake up and finally go back to our old house in Lethbridge, and just go about life has it had been. This was a vacation I seemed to keep telling myself. I knew it wasn’t. So I texted my best friend. I asked for a phone date, I needed a friendly voice. I wanted to hear someone familiar who would comfort me.

She was busy. In another city. The one I used to live in. I was here. My calendar was bare, my phone silent.

I wanted to be mad, but I couldn’t. It was ridiculous of me to expect her to come running. I’m here. She’s there. It’s just not the same anymore. There was no reason to be mad, even. This is the path life takes, and when you are that far, connecting on the same time, every time, just doesn’t happen.

When I first moved to Lethbridge, it’d been like this. Yet, I had a job, which meant occasionally, I had a life and pseudo-friends. I was still pretending to do the Mormon thing. There was a small sense of community. I considered this for a second.

“Church, Danielle? Really?” I said to no one, rolling my eyes at my own desperation.

* * * * * * * * * *

I knew there would be a certain level of loneliness when we moved back here. In the back of my mind, I assumed I could get a job if it got really bad. Then the reality of The Hubby’s new role hit. He was gone from sun up, until sun down a lot of the time. With such an inconsistent schedule, I knew there was no way for me to be a reliable employee. Which meant, my sure fire way to at least find some socialization was gone.

There was a slight sting at the way the lives of all those who had been our closest friends and family, just seemed to continue on. It’s not that I expected that they would fall apart when we left, I just had this crazy assumption that there would be more communication, more contact. The phone rings only when it’s expected to ring, an office calling me back about an appointment or a question, the occasional telemarketer. I watch as The Hubby looks at the display to see if his family has called for him, and watch him mask his disappointment quickly as he realizes there is no returned call.

It wasn’t supposed to be this lonely. I detested Lethbridge, even loathed it some days. I remember when The Hubby came home one day to tell me that his job may keep us in Lethbridge – I cried. Not just cried, but there was wailing and possibly some gnashing of teeth. I wanted out of there worse than anyone else, and I got out. I was free! Free to dance in the meadows of not living in that town! Free!

Except now, I miss the support I created there while I waited to make my grand escape. Now, all I do is think about going back.

Image Credit to Pascal Maramis

Maybe I am expecting it all to happen to quickly, to easily. Like good friends just happen like that, when we were kids, and noticed someone wearing the same trendy bracelet, or had their hair styled in the same strange way we did. I feel like I have stepped back into the tricky world of dating. You know you have a type when it comes to friends (laid back, doesn’t mind swearing, like coffee, wine, and discussing current events), and you know you want one. So how do you make the step from being “available” to “seeing someone” in the realm of Mommy Dating? Do I even need to date a Mommy (probably)? Could I connect with a single girl with no kids (I have in the past)?

Has someone invented a Mommy Dating website? We should get on that.

Until then, I’ll comfort myself with too many cups of coffee, an insane amount of library books (even for a book worm like me), terrible television, and the people in my phone.

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