I have some great and amazing friends. Ones that will bring me a meal when I'm sick, flea bomb my house, split their fries with me or listen to me not make any kind of sense for long stretches at a time and laugh at my jokes. Even when they aren't all that funny.
But sometimes I still long for something a little bit
closer. In proximity and intensity.
A best friend. Even though I am probably
already blessed beyond measure in that department.
I know that I am too old
for this, but I long for a BFF just like I did back in the 2nd grade. When
everyone else showed up to school on Fridays with a sleeping bag and a note to go
home with a friend.
I can not stress enough, how great my friends are.
How I've found a solid group of 4-5 girls that I can ask the hard questions to
-- like what to do about my kid's rash, if my outfit looks ridiculous or what
kind of wine to buy. And as a grown up, well...i just don't have the kind of
time that I did when I was younger. And I do really miss my clear neon light up
phone that I spent half my waking time on. Now, I do not need to waste hours
discussing who is hotter Brandon or Dylan. But sometimes I'd still like someone
to run a race with. Eat lunch with. Or discuss who is hotter Ryan Gosling or
Let's not even mention that my husband is amazing. He
likes to watch Anthony Bordain with me, pushes me to run faster and try harder
and doesn't flip out when I spend our grocery money on Mumford and Sons tickets.
He is a great friend, even if he doesn't want to hear about my uterus or get a
And people at work can make me laugh until my stomach hurts.
Share their diet cokes when I am crashing and send emails from my computer (as
me) asking for advice about my rash...and cover my classes in a pinch.
have people. Great people. Amazing people.
I shouldn't be, but sometimes, I
am still really lonely.
And I wish making friends, and keeping them and sorting
it all out was as easy as it was in 2nd grade. When eventually, I ran into
the other new girl on the playground with a chili bowl hair cut and ended and
suddenly I had sleepovers and half a heart necklace of my own.
So, when I
am tucking my son in at night recently...and he sighs and tells me he doesn't
have any friends at school. My heart breaks.
And then a few days later, in
the pick up line at school -- he tells me he wishes he had people to play with
at recess. Instead of walking around by himself.
I felt that ache in my chest
again and it didn't go away when even after I bought both of us a snow cone on
the way home.
My son has people. Just like me. Our cul-de-sac is the
place to be until the sun goes down. Last night there were at least 7 boys out
there on bikes, scooters and go carts. Playing, giggling and skinning knees.
There are bases taped to the street for impromptu games of kickball. And I do
not go easy on any one under the age of 5. He plays baseball and soccer and
seems to be the one at practice easily cutting up with the other kids. We go to
church and he makes friends with even the high school age helpers. And my
friends of course, have kids that he can't wait to play with.
but. he is
still lonely. He isn't picked for a group on a field trip and I am determined.
I will get over my fear of all things PTA and help a boy out.
a boy in his class, and I remember getting an email from his mom about
volunteering at a class party. (she wanted me to help with the craft table,
which should be obvious to anyone at this point that clearly this mom does not
After a few conversations with my friends about the best way to
handle this, I type a cute little email asking a complete stranger if her son
might want to come hang out with my own super cute smart sweet and funny son. I
refuse to use the word play date and suggest that maybe....since she doesn't
know me AT ALL...that she might want to meet us at a park or something along
those lines. I try not to sound too desperate, even though I totally am and I
hit send. A little nervous like i just asked someone out.
A few hours
later she wrote back. That her son would love to come play and that he REALLY
likes going to people's houses....so why don't I just take them home from school
one day. I was so enthused about telling my son that he had a friend FROM school
is coming over.....that I try to overlook the fact that I will have to clean my
house and car out. To impress an 8 year old.
Wanting this to be a success
for my son, I spend some time cleaning up the house the day before. I text his
mom to confirm and am extra nice and put my son's booster seat in the back so
that this kid can't make fun of him for still having one. Then his mom texts me
to tell me that her husband will be picking him up. And I immediately stop
cleaning. Because dad's don't tend to notice that kind of thing.
day as my son walks to the car, with his friend at his side -- he is beaming. I
am also smiling, not at my BFF match making success, but because I catch a
glimpse inside the minivan next to me. and it is messy. like my car normally is.
And this mom doesn't have crazy eyes. or pajama pants on. or a cigarette
dangling from her bottom lip. She looks just like me. with a really messy car.
and i suddenly wonder how awkward it would be if I asked for her # for my own
little play date. My bubble is very quickly busted. Long before we can buckle
our seat belts....which I have to ask this new kid to do 5-6 times before he
finally complies. I haven't even put away my pick up tag (these pick up lines
are very serious and orderly business and you only have to run into one car in
front of you to get a reputation) before this kid is bossing not only me but
also my son around. Suddenly, it is all going south. I listen to my son
...trying so hard to impress ...let this eight year old boss him
I do not text or play my music loud on the way home. I make sure
the music doesn't have bad words. because company calls for your best behavior.
Unless you are the other kid in my back seat. I hand over some cash to my son
and send them into QT for snacks. This other kid, takes the 5 and tells my son
he can have the 1$....and so I decide that I better go inside. They get slushes
and snacks. I talk potential BFF out of a king size candy bar after much whining
and complaining -- and he still tries to keep my change. He then takes one bite
out of his normal size candy bar (all while i am praying that his parents arent
the type that only allow apples for snacks) only to spit it out and say that he
doesn't like it after all.
I tried to stay out of the conversation, but
in a lull I started asking questions.
I couldn't believe it, but my father's
go to question fell out of my mouth and I asked what his dad did. I'm not sure
he understood the question, because he said that in the morning his dad
sometimes takes a nap. So I tried again and asked if his mom worked. Again, he
replied...."yes, she works out sometimes. But she does her push ups funny. On
her knees." So I tried a new question. What do you like to do? Do you play any
sports. He responded "On Monday I play Wii, on Tuesday I play my DS"....and it
continued with a mapped out plan for each piece of gaming equipment. I started
to tune him out around Thursday....to which he asked me if I was even
Then we picked up little sister. Within seconds, he declared
that she was annoying.
And I occasionally have that thought my self. But. He
doesn't share half her DNA so he does not get that luxury. And he didn't think
it but said it outloud. to her.
Which is a big mistake buddy. Because if
anyone can hold their own in my house it is Tess.
The rest of the way
home, I prayed that Tess wouldn't hurt him and I thought to myself that never
again will I meddle in my kid's social lives and that maybe making friends no
matter what the age is never easy no matter how much I like to idealize it. I
was really appreciating my own friends. And especially thankful for their kids
who do not steal my change and boss me around. I was lost in my thoughts and
mostly tuned the conversation in the back seat out, except when I heard an
unfamiliar voice tell me that he often gets carsick. And then I prayed that he
would not puke in my new(ish) car and wondered if he did if I could call his
parents to pick him up early.
playdate update: After a rocky ride home the new couple disappeared into my son's room for several hours and played happily. No video games. No fighting. No throwing up in the car. And Tess didn't even have to take anyone out. My son is on social cloud nine, so maybe I was a little quick to judge....although I did have to pry the rest of my change out of his hand as he walked out the door to go home.