Do you have a close-knit circle of friends? I do, but I recently moved away from them. I had another set of close friends too, when my kids were babies, but I moved away from them too. It seems like every time I secure a group of girl friends I finally feel comfortable enough to share the personal stuff with, we move half-way across the country.
The first time was a move that took us from Philadelphia back to our hometown of Chicago. I had given birth to two of my children in Philly, and my oldest was one year old when we moved there, so the girlfriends I had made were extra special. We had our babies and raised them together. We were figuring out how to be mommies with one another. When our children got diaper rash or ear infections, we would call one another and ask, “What should I do?” We were each others’ life lines. These women are women who still mean the world to me, and their children are especially important in my life. I can’t even believe the kids are all turning into teenagers now.
When my oldest was 7, our family moved back to Chicago, and although I had a previous great group of friends there, I met another amazing group of women. As most of us were stay-at-home moms from the neighborhood, we were able to spend a lot of time together, sharing in the excitement (OK, the mundane day-to-day stuff) that is being a stay-at-home mom. We bonded fast.
When Your Kids Are Young
It’s easy to make friendships when your kids are young. When they are babies and toddlers, you can seek out the women you want to get to know. You can choose the children you would like your kids to play with, and then you can decide which mommies seem more like you – which mommies might feed their kids chicken nuggets and fries, which ones don’t care if they play in the ball pit, which ones don’t freak out if another kid sneezes.
The same basically goes for when the kids are in elementary school. You get to choose who your kids go on play dates with. You can say yes or no to birthday parties, you can decide whether they can be friends with this kid or that kid. As the kids get older, they start making their own plans on who they want to be friends with – who would have thought!?
The Avocado Theory
My kids are now in third, sixth and seventh grades, and we’ve made this huge move to Arizona. I haven’t had the urge to seek out a bunch of new friends right away. I have felt very lucky with the friends I have made, and now I feel more selective and maybe a bit more reserved, maybe even tentative in the search to make more friends. My ‘group’ of friends now will be older, more settled into their own group, and I don’t want to intrude. Plus, at this stage in my life, I don’t feel the need or desire to hang by the school and chat up the mothers to see who might make a potential good new friend.
Yes, I’ve made a few new friends here, but I’m slowly doing it and on my terms. And as I’m getting older, I’m going for quality, not that I don’t already have quality friends who live far away. I’ve been lucky in the past to get the best of both worlds – I have had a great bunch of women friends whom I love and adore.
Now, I’m not busting at the seams to grab hold of a ton of friends. I am happy with a select few, as long as I find the friends that I will connect with on the same level as where I’m at now.
It’s kind of like picking the perfect avocado at the grocery store. You feel it out, and then peel it open, and hope it’s the right one. That’s how I’m approaching my search for friendships these days – but I’m really in no hurry. I’m certain they’re out there.