Letters to Harrison,  Parenting

A Round of Applause Please, for My Mom-Squad

 

Harry and Friends in the Snow
Harry and friends after a snow-shoe

We approach one year of friendships!

“K”’s birthday is tomorrow Harrison! It will be your first birthday party, and all your baby friends will be there. I said it: “Baby friends”. What that really means is my “mom-friends” will be there. As babies, you don’t really have friends, after all you take very little notice of one another (unless someone else’s little hand clutches something you want). We will line all you babies up for pictures, and then set you free to roll, climb and crawl over each other on the floor among toys and sometimes tears. It has been so fun to watch you all progress to where you are now, from fetuses to newborns, and now one-year-olds. I hope someday these kids will be your good friends, like their mom’s are for me.

Cheers to good company

I have a pretty wide group of friends; Not a lot of them, but good ones. Having you, Harrison has not turned my life quite as drastically upside-down as I’d originally anticipated, and I’m still able to see friends, go for a drink, catch a movie, or go shopping in the city for a night. I owe that to a wonderful support system, and very understanding girlfriends who have accepted my transition to motherhood with grace, for while I am still able to do get out, it requires a little more notice and a little more planning.

My Mom friends, however, seem to be the ones available with the slightest notice, us all living for the small chunk of time between naps. We are free in the day, our partners at work, along with the rest of the world. Its a lot easier to chase you around, Harry when the person I am visiting has their own baby to “wrangle”. The activities available tend to be friendly to you, as well as (fairly) baby-proof.

You might think a year of no work may be boring, and in some ways it most definitely is. It’s a strange kind of bored however: its tedious, repetitive, and you are never doing nothing. I have my mom’s to break that up for me, and we are all in this strange bubble of mothering in the first year together (at least until our various maternity leaves start ending). I can say in my 10 months of leave from work that, so far, I have never once felt left out or isolated, as I know is so often the case.

The benefit of Prenatal class,

My first parent friends were co-workers, married to each other and due five weeks prior to you. I work as a nurse, and we would bond by comparing ailments of pregnancy and peeking at our babies on the ultrasound machine that lived in our unit. We registered for the same prenatal class, thinking it an excuse to get out and participate in the excitement of our fast approaching parenthood.

The first day of the class, we joined the other 8 couples in that classroom. The class was good, informative. I wont get into details (to be honest I retained little of the information covered), but that class has paid itself off again and again, because from it, we gained friends. Of nine couples, we see a lot of them at least weekly, plus a few extra friends we’ve picked up on the way.

My Support-System

These women all have wildly different personalities and backgrounds, a positive, because I get ten times the input, and ten times the perspective. When one one baby quit taking a bottle after not being offered one for weeks, I learned to consistently offer one to prevent that from happening. Based on someone else’s experience, we attended the hospital with enough food and snacks to sustain an army when I went into labour (and good thing, as we didn’t know then, but we would spend six days total in there after your  birth). Would we have been friends were it not for our kids? Honestly, I don’t know where I’d begin to come across these ladies in the community; I’d not even laid eyes on these people prior to pregnancy, despite several of us having grown up here. In fact, after a few months of friendship I found out I am actually RELATED to one of them (both through our husbands). These newly realized connections are wild, and typical of a small town. In the last year we have found missed links, friends in common, and realized near-misses to all having known each other sooner.

A thing about mom-friends, no, mom-friends-of-kids-within-three-months-of-age: when we get together, we get attention. Imagine a fleet of six strollers prowling the streets of a small town near you! There is always someone willing to partake in a get-together and when we are all free, watch out, because it’s chaos.

I have never forgotten- and been reminded of so many events as I have since becoming a mom. Before events, someone always gets around to composing a quick “public service announcement” reminder for the rest of us, and if not that, there is invariably another type of message saying “We are late but we’ll be there!” which in itself has served as an event reminder for me more than once.

We are having a one-year reunion with the prenatal class coming up, an informal “group birthday” for all our babies. We will catch up with the few we’ve lost touch with, compare experiences, and celebrate ourselves. It’s our children’s first birthdays, but we also celebrate something else: the anniversary of becoming parents.

I’m having more fun than I anticipated,

I often said going into parenthood that I was expecting the worst, the rationale being that if I had low expectations I couldn’t feel let-down. This has worked well for me since “the worst” rarely happens. By that logic, anything less than that extreme is a pleasant surprise. “Pleasant surprise” does not begin to approach my feelings right now, since in these last ten months I have never known so much fun, frustration and fulfillment. Thanks to these ladies, my social life has also never been more vibrant.

With babies turning one, another milestone is imminent for me: The end of my maternity leave. I’m adding back another layer of life, one I have not had to consider since last March. It was wonderful being off, and nice with these friends on the same schedule as me (that being basically whatever the hell our babies dictated). I sense fewer opportunities to get together approaching, some of us are returning to work, and some are pursuing new lifestyles. I hope through the years our relationships will endure. I look forward to knowing kids Harrys age, to comparing notes on, as well as crowd-sourcing  ideas when Matt and I are stumped on parental-problem solving.

Which of you kids will be friends forever? Will you play on opposing teams? Opposing sports? Will anyone date? Will I ever pick one of them up from a party drunk, and be faced with telling their mom the predicament? I hope these relationships will endure. I picture grad photos someday, all grouped together, perhaps recreating one of our recently captured group photos, smiles a bit forced, but humouring us and our fond memories. I hope when that comes our babies will gather close, celebrating as friends, and not as strangers.

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