When books inspire real life -or- a transplant’s quest for close girlfriends

Before I was pregnant with Christopher, I read Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner. It’s the story of three very different women who meet in prenatal yoga class and become extremely close friends. That’s the dream, right?

As a transplant to Milwaukee, I don’t have childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, or even family (other than Jim’s) in this area, so the idea of making close friends when I got pregnant was such a romantic idea. It didn’t really work out that way. For one thing, I didn’t even take prenatal yoga. I did do yoga while pregnant, but it was just a normal class.

At the time Jim and I were living in a neighborhood where most people were 10 years older with elementary school age kids, so no other pregnant ladies there. And since we worked 20 miles away, we weren’t really home much to see anyone else in the neighborhood except on weekends.

After Christopher was born and he started daycare, I thought maybe we’d meet other parents at daycare. But the thing with daycare is that everyone is in a hurry when dropping off and picking up, and our first daycare didn’t have any family activities. Until about 3 years old, kids don’t really have friends anyway, so it’s not like Christopher was asking for play dates in those early years.

I started a new job when Christopher was 11 weeks old, and I went back to working full time. After a while at that job, I started making friends with my coworkers who were also moms. I found that when you have kids around the same age, conversation is easy. After three years at that company, I left with a group of 5 close girlfriends. We now have monthly Girls Nights, and they provide tremendous support and much needed time away. But…none of them live anywhere near me, so I’ve still been on a quest for local friends who are available for spur of the moment plans when I’m going crazy on a Sunday afternoon.

Dessert at Cheesecake Factory with some of my girls, November 2014.

When we moved in 2012, Christopher’s new daycare did have family nights a few times a year, so we’ve met some other parents that way. And as he’s gotten older and built his own friendships, I’ve left notes in mailboxes and orchestrated many play dates. He has a few good friends from daycare from the past couple of years, but the ultimate goal in my mind has been Kindergarten. I’ve been asking daycare moms for the last year or so which Kindergarten their kids would be attending, looking for something a bit longer lasting.

(Side Note: Fellow mothers of only children will understand the importance of play dates, but for those of you with more than one child, maybe you don’t know how much I need play dates. Christopher can only play alone so long on the weekend before he expects Jim or I to play with him or entertain him. While we love to play with him sometimes, we also have our own stuff to get done on the weekends.)

As an introvert all of the effort I’ve been putting into his friendships and into finding local mommy friends has been kind of exhausting. And knowing that most of it will be for naught because our kids won’t be together come September 2015 has made it even more so.

I recently read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Love! There’s a weird death plot that my husband hated hearing me talk about, but I didn’t even care so much about that. For me it was all about the friendships. That started at Kindergarten orientation! I read this book at the absolute perfect time in my life. Tonight is Christopher’s Kindergarten orientation. I’m probably way more excited about it than I should be, but it’s the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.

Some other moms from the school who have older kids in Kindergarten now, I think, started a Facebook group for incoming Kindergarten parents, so I’ve connected with a few people already. There’s a formal Kindergarten play date in August, but another mom and I have schedule an informal one in a couple of weeks to get our kids connected sooner. At least I’m not the only one looking forward to this milestone.

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