A couple of years ago, we packed up the Outback and traveled to Wisconsin and Minnesota for a two-week visiting extravaganza with six month old Owen. The wheels sagged with all of the "necessary" baby stuff--pack and play, vibrating "buzz chair," a gross of diapers, etc. It boggles the mind now that we did this, as we prepare for a week long trip to Charlotte with the boys for Thanksgiving.
One of the stops was to Lake Minnetonka, MN, to see the nuptials of my cousin. In attendance at his wedding were several friends that he has known ever since he was able to sit up, or possibly even before. I'm talking about playgroup friendships.
Owen has several playgroup friends. He's at the age where he has no choice regarding his friends. They need to be mommy's friends, or else it's not happening. Luckily, one of his best friends has a wonderful mother who takes care of me and makes me happy. That would be Josh.
I met Josh's mom, Jamie, at the hospital's breast feeding support group. This is a place where women meet up to talk about breastfeeding. It was a bit like entering a cult, because the nurse that led the group drank the La Leche Kool-Aid, and never grew tired of discussing flow, milk ducts, let down, and the many, many benefits of nursing. Jamie had difficulty breastfeeding Josh, switched to formula, and we decided that we could have fun without talking about lactation.
We met at each other's houses, took long, meandering walks down the North Beach boardwalk, and watched our boys roll over, sit up, crawl, sprout teeth, walk, and talk together. One of Owen's first words was "Josh," and Josh soon requested his friend "O-wo." We grew more adventurous, traveling to the Annapolis mall to take photos, going out to lunch (leaving a small mountain of Cheerios in our wake), and in a particularly gutsy move, taking two eighteen month old boys to the Paint and Pottery store.
Jamie became pregnant again, and had beautiful Cara. Despite juggling two kids, she seemed to always know what I needed, inviting us over for meals and bringing me pumpkin Peeps. I can always count on her to be game for almost any adventure, no matter how absurd: Take a newborn and a toddler to the pumpkin patch? Sure! Make homemade cookies and frost them one-handed while holding a needy baby in the other? Bring it on!
Josh and Owen are kindred spirits, too. They have a language consisting mainly of grunts and screams, and they speak it without fail whenever they meet. They both speak clearly, but are so excited to see each other that they revert to their caveman roots. They frolic in my backyard, rolling down the hill until their hands and pants are grass stained. When we had the family over for dinner, they played so vigorously and happily upstairs that the chandelier over my kitchen table swayed back and forth.
Jamie's and my timing has always been off. I've become tipsy at her house while her belly was full of Cara. I enjoyed wine while she nursed Cara. Now, Cara is a walking, talking toddler, and I am nursing. We have July of 2009 marked on our calendars as the time that we will finally share a pitcher of margaritas---and have a husband or two drive us home.
It's hard to say what kind of boys and men Owen and Josh will become. Josh is musical and confident; Owen is agile and curious. It's possible that the boys will grow apart. However, it's just as possible, and a dear wish of mine, that Josh and Owen will attend each other's weddings, and say, "I've known him since before I could sit up."