This is Chris’ first week back at work after spending the past three months home as a family. It hasn’t been too bad, really. I miss him during the day though. Sometimes Bean will do something funny and I’ll look around to say something to Chris and he’s not there. That part sucks. But I’m sure we’ll all get used to the transition.
A few weeks ago I went to a play group for infants and mother’s at my church. This would be the event where Bean got into a church brawl. I had a really nice time and met a lot of super cute moms and babies. And it was good for Bean to get out and be with other children since he is no longer in daycare. Then, last week, I got an email from one of the moms asking if I wanted to get together for a play date. I was so excited! So, we made plans to meet yesterday at the church playground.
Yesterday morning I woke up in a cold sweat of anxiety. I had never done a one-on-one play date before. What would we do? How would Bean act? What would we talk about? Oh, the pressure of dating!
And for the rest of the day as I got ready for our date, my mind went crazy with thoughts:
“Should I wear pants? No, it’s too hot. How about shorts? No, too scary. What about a skirt? No, too dressy. Capris. I’ll wear capris.”
“DAMN! I only have black capris and brown shoes! Why didn’t I buy any black sandals?!?! Stupid Chris on a budget!!! Maybe I can wear white capris. Yes, definitely the white.”
“Can I put Bean in a funny t-shirt? How about his, “Most Eligible Bachelor” one? No, too forward for a first date. Maybe he should wear a collared shirt? No, I don’t want him to be a nerd. Casual. We’ll go casual. “Boys Will Be Boys” t-shirt it is!”
As I loaded Bean into his car seat and drove over to the church, I started wondering who I was getting ready to meet. See, at the moms and babies breakfast, I met several different moms and babies and I wasn’t quite sure which one had emailed me. I had it narrowed down to three moms that it could have been, but I wasn’t positive which one it was going to be. I hoped that it was this really nice, laid back mom that I had met in the parking lot of the church, but I really didn’t know.
Thankfully, when I turned the corner into the playground, I was so happy to find it was the one from the parking lot!
We played on the swings for a while, holding our babies in our laps and catching up on how we’d been since we last saw each other. She shared about a few mother’s groups that she has joined and how that has helped structure her days as a stay-at-home mom, and she invited me to join one of them. After we were all sufficiently hot and sweaty, we loaded the babies into strollers and walked around downtown for a while. All in all, it was a pretty great play date and a nice reason to get out of the house.
Play dates are strange things, though. There is definitely a reason they call it a date. You are really testing people out, seeing if you can hang out together civilly while our kids play. This was the first sort of friendship I had made that revolved around my child and while it was so great to spend time with someone in my same situation as a parent, it did make me miss my friends who knew me before I was just Bean’s mom. My friends who have known me since they were pulling me off of table tops in college (only once…). My friends who have known me since I wore cut off jean shorts and thought my face was the appropriate shape for bangs. My friends who were there the day I got married and the day I had my baby.
New friends are a blessing because they give me something to look forward to in this new place. But old friends are the backbone who have pushed me to be the person who I am in this new place. I guess the Girl Scouts were right. You need both kinds of friends in your life.