Something unexpected has come with having a son in preschool. No, not the germs. The moms.
I remember, vividly remember, saying I would NOT let my son’s friends dictate who my friends were. I remember dreading play dates the same way I dreaded nuclear war when I was nine. The thought of them kept me up crying until I fell asleep, a snotty, red-eyed mess. “Dear God, please don’t make me have to go to other people’s houses and make up some bullshit small talk while my son “parallel plays” with their kid. Please God, don’t force me to have strangers over, eating my food while their kids pull out all of Garrett’s toys and put them directly into their mouths.”
Play dates were a thing I had only read about online or heard horror stories about through friends of friends. I wanted nothing to do with them, or anything that came along with them.
But guess what happened? Guess!! Play dates happened. And they are glorious.
First of all, they take up at least two hours of what would otherwise be time that I would have to fill with crafts or art, or arts and crafts, or pulling out my hair trying to think of something to do besides arts and crafts. Not that I don’t adore, relish, and thank the lord for the time I have alone with G-Man. I do love this time. But there are days that are easier for both of us because of play dates. I have an only child. And he sometimes needs a playmate under 40 to hang out with after school.
Second of all, I have met some pretty freaking unbelievable women (and some awesome men) because of these dates of play. These are women I never would have known if it wasn’t for G. These are women from all walks of life, in varied careers, with fascinating stories. These are women who love their kids as hard as I love mine, who take great care in caring for their families, who miss the hell out of staying up until 2:00AM, taking weekend naps and working out five days a week, but wouldn’t trade the life they’re living now if you paid them.
They’re funny and smart and lovely. They are women I have things in common with. I don’t feel pressure to be anything other than myself around them, and I don’t feel pressured to be a better friend than I can be. Some of these women may only be in my life for a little while, but some might be around for the long haul. The great thing is, none of that really matters now because we’re mostly doing the play-date thing for our kids, so that they can be social and learn how to have their own friends.
I just never knew that my kid’s play dates would turn into dates that I looked so forward to. And, having lost friends from my past who no longer fit into my evolving life, nor I into theirs… I feel very lucky to be meeting new people who seem to be the exact people I need at this moment, (and hopefully some for years to come). I hope I offer as much to them as they do to me. It’s true what they say about one door closing and another one opening. I just had no idea it would be the door to my kid’s preschool classroom.