Sometimes, an emotion follows you around, like a stray cat. You try to close the door, but you still hear the persistent mewing. You turn on the radio, you walk away and say, "I'm not listening," but you know it's there. Finally, with a sigh, you say, "Fine. Come in," and you open the door.
Consider this my stray cat.
When Owen was around eighteen months old, I fell into a group of friends. We were all first-time mothers. We all stayed at home at least part of the time, if not full time. We started meeting for weekly playgroups, and over time, I found my very own Sisterhood of the Traveling Diaper Bags.
There's this consistent trope of the radically diverse group of female friends that stay close no matter what. The girls of Sex and the City. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe.
There is something so attractive about the idea of girlfriends being your one true family, one that supersedes biological family and romantic relationships. Having experienced it firsthand, it is a gift.
We used to meet every Friday morning at the park. Our kids played while we drank coffee and gabbed. We talked about the normal milestones---language development, potty-training, tantrums. We also talked about the shift from career to home, about the isolation of our days, and about the incredible love we felt for our children. We agreed that Go, Diego, Go was full of evil and that there is nothing like the sacred beauty of a sleeping child.
Over time, things changed. Personalities clashed. Feelings were hurt. Some people left the group. Others joined in.
Then, things changed even more. Some of us had second children. Our kids entered different preschools. Some of us moved away. Others returned to work.
Although it happened so gradually that it's hard to say how, our group became little more than updates on Facebook and promises to "get together soon."
I don't think there is any rancor or ill-will between us. I think that life just happens. But still, when I stood in the playground today, by myself, I heard that mewing feeling. It said, as clear as the blue sky above me: "I miss being a part of that group."
I miss the weekly check-in, and the perfect knowledge that we are all in this together. I miss the confidence in knowing that it was us against the world. I miss that moment in time.
Don't get me wrong. I still have amazing friends--sisters---in my life. Many from that group.
But yet, that feeling of that group at that time? It has changed.
Even if we met up again, it will be different. I understand that.
I also understand that I need to be the change in my world. And so, I am going to start going to the playground every Friday morning, once the weather cools. If you are reading this, dear friends, I invite you to join me.
It may not be the same, but it can still be very, very good.
I'm joining Shell at Pour Your Heart Out Today. Check it out!