Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Would I Do Without My Mommy Friends?

Before I had Ellie, I was finding it hard to make friends of my own.

I liked my co-workers at the Portland bureau of the AP, but as a part-timer, I often wasn't included in the occasional trips out for a beer if only because I wasn't there when the plans were made. So I didn't see much of them socially.

I felt fortunate that when I moved to Portland (and really, before that, whenever I was in town on weekends), I was embraced by Scott's friends and generally included when he was invited somewhere. But none of "my" friends lived locally.

Even at my baby shower, as I made introductions among the women who came to celebrate with me, they were all people I'd met through Scott. (My co-workers threw me a separate shower.) I remember wondering what that said about me that I didn't have "my own" friends.

Then I had Ellie. And suddenly I was getting to know other new moms, and becoming friends solely on the basis of our having infants about the same age. I didn't have a lot of faith that those friendships would last longterm, especially once the kids were old enough for preschool and would go in different directions.

I'm so happy that my cynical side was wrong!

I've been sick now for a little over five months. Longer if you count from my first case of pneumonia at the end of March, which I never fully bounced back from. So I've been mostly missing from playgroups and other activities, such as MOMS Club and classes at the community center, since last spring.

And it's true that I don't keep in frequent contact with some of the moms I used to hang out with.

But many of them are still making a point of including me in their lives. Yes, I'm not there for the weekly playgroup get-togethers and spur-of-the-moment activities. But they keep in touch by email and telephone and occasional visits. I feel slightly out of the loop when they talk about recent events, but they catch me up as they can.

And one group of mommy friends has made a point recently to have a monthly get-together, without the kids or husbands. We used to occasionally do those in bars or restaurants, but out of consideration for my illness, we're staying in instead of going out. And they come out of their way to pick me up and take me home so I don't have to choose between seeing my friends and taking my painkillers. Many thanks to Barbara, Allie, Molly, Meg and Stacey for making me feel like I'm still part of the gang.

Another two mommy friends that I used to meet weekly for a small playdate have also been great about keeping in regular contact. They've made some weekday visits with their children while Ellie was in daycare, but they're planning to come over this weekend so our three kids can have their first playdate in a long time.

I guess I don't know whether it's really any different that I'm now acquiring friends through Ellie and previously I acquired friends through Scott. But it feels different, especially since I've known most of these women since our children were infants and our so-called playgroups were entirely about the mommies and just slightly about the babies.

And at this point, I feel blessed by all my friends, whether I got to know them through Scott or Ellie or they date back even farther and I met them on my own.

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