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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Missing the Sisterhood

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 CityThe 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!

24 comments:

My Life in Purple said...

I can understand where you're coming from. I'm on the outside looking into mommyland. My best friends from my childhood that have kids now get together with each other, or other mommies, and very rarely make the effort to call the childless wonder!!

noisycolorfullively said...

Beautiful. I've been missing community. My story is similar to yours. I'm praying desperately for friends in my 'hood. Friends I can share life with. Friends who will know how to contact me if a tree falls on my roof while I'm away. Friends who will drop by for dinner unannounced because they know they're always welcome. Friends who will come early to vaccuum my floors before a party because they know I'm always running late. Friends who will go to the park with us, will watch fireworks with us, will swim with us, will share game and movie nights with us, will laugh with us and cry with us and, and, and...

Melissa said...

I hope you are able to get some sort of group back. It's tough to find that sense of community again - but hopefully you will. good luck!

Buffee said...

I had a moment like this recently. Last weekend I ran into the group of gay guys I used to spend ALL of my time with, before I got married. We laughed and laughed and I thought about how much I missed them and how much fun we used to have. Part of me was sad that I never see them anymore or go out like when I was young and single. But I'm happy being married and "settled".

Anyway, its different from your story, but I understand the missing old "girl" friends!

Shell said...

I hope you can find a way to reconnect with them.

I had a group like this. And it did change with people having more babies, school, etc. And then I moved away, so I rarely even facebook with them any more. It's really sad. I miss them.

Thanks for linking up.

Aunt of 14 said...

I understand what you're saying here. I grew up with a few good girlfriends, and by college, we all went to different colleges. We tried to reunite, but it just did not work. I still love them and miss them, but that candor we had will never be the same. We won't share any more "AH I know!!'s"

Adult conversation. Things in common. Things to look forward to. All gone. I get it.

clearness said...

Sounds a little like me...except I'm going to start a coffee shop meeting with the mom's at parent drop off at my daughters school.......We will meet the last Friday of every month....and I'm pretty sure it will be good.

Minivan Lover said...

Since leaving my hometown in Northern Maryland for this area, I have struggled to feel like a real part of a group, not just someone bouncing around the perimeter. This post rings SO true with me. I will be teaching on Fridays in the Fall. I am sad I will not be able to join you Fridays in the park.

Cheeseboy said...

Go, Diego, Go is evil?

Sisterhood of the Traveling Diaper Bag - LOL!

Salt said...

Can I come? I don't have any children, but I love swinging on the swings. :)

I've had those shifting and changing types of friendships in my life too. It's kind of sad, but people change with time.

Aging Mommy said...

Oh what a beautiful and heartfelt post. The dynamics of these Mom groups do change over time, it is true. When second babies came along for most of my original Mom group the get togethers became less frequent but we do manage to still meet up once a month for a Mom's night out. Perhaps you could try doing that to get everyone together and break the ice? Or invite just one or two of the Moms for a play date and see how things go from there. Anyway, I hope it all works out for you.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I went through something very similar. We started as an online group and really depended on each other. 6 of us- all first time moms. And we aren't together anymore. 1 dropped out completely, one has moved on to more exciting things, and the 4 of us remaining try to stay connected but... it's changed. 2nd kids, new jobs, new marriages, life keeps changing.

I do find comfort in knowing that I still have these women to turn to... if there was a crisis in my life or if I needed advice about marriage or kids, I could turn to them and get the support, encouragement, and love that I'd need.

Mothers' Hideaway said...

This makes me want to cry. I'm longing for that sisterhood. Somewhere. Anywhere. I hope you find it again or at least something similar soon.

LB said...

Great post, girlie! I totally get that feeling sometimes. I recently reconnected with an old college friend, and didn't realize how much I'd missed her! We were BFFs long before BFFs existed.

I've since discovered new BFFs with new common interests. I love them, but nothing will ever replace those college days with my girl, Lizzie!

MiMi said...

So many moms miss out on having this. I didn't find a group I fit with for years. It makes the first years of motherhood difficult, at best.

adrienzgirl said...

Until recently I would have never understood this post. I have never had that "group" until now. Not that I haven't had great friends, I have, but never a sisterhood. Ever. Just singular friendships.

Blogging and my bb bishes have given me that sisterhood. I am so thrilled to finally have found that group. It is amazing!

This was a very moving PYHO post!!

*LLUVIA* said...

I've never been part of a group! :(

I've always wanted to, though.

Tracie said...

I had a similar thing happen with a group of friends from the church I used to go to. After people started going elsewhere, it was never the same.

Ms. Moon said...

You know, my years of being with other mothers is so long ago that I remember it with only the merest pang in my heart.
I think you are right, though, to try and find another group. It's so important to have that. So important.

purseblogger said...

It's so hard when times change and it affects the friendships. You have a great attitude about it though. I hope you can form a new and fun group at the playground.

shortmama said...

Ive never been part of a group like that because I live in a hole in the wall town. But I sure cling to the friends that I have and its hard when something in life causes changes to it

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Awwwww...this totally made me tear up. Because I had a playgroup too that was like that. Though I wasn't brilliant enough to name it Sisterhood of the Traveling Diaperbags. But it was so awesome. Just like you said. A place to vent. To share. To check in every week. A place to fit in and make sense of the mommy universe. But I think with us, it was a lot of the same. When we all had our 2nd kids, things began to change. And once our first kids started going to school things really fell apart. Now we see each other occasionally, but not very much as a big group. And I miss it.

But you know, blogging has become a kind of alternate community for me. And I really appreciate these relationships too. It's not exactly the same, but it fills me up. And makes me feel less alone when I spend half my day breaking up fights and cleaning toothpaste off the fireplace. Thanks for being you, Nancy. You can be part of my sisterhood any day. xoxoxox

An Imperfect Momma said...

Totally understand where you are coming from! I hate that feeling. I met with a very close friend through a similar situation but now she works during the day and I miss her. We have new friends in the group...but its not the same.

only a movie said...

I have four sisters, so I've always had that group as a default. I know what you mean with the girl groups and how they can feel so good, yet be so fleeting.
Great post.