making mom friends

So, two weeks ago I lost a dear family member and I’m really too laid out to address it.  As I wade through my grief and examine the life of the dear one I have lost I am helped greatly by my family and friends.  A good friend can get you out of your ditch, or hold your hand while he lay face down in the ditch until you are able to get yourself up.  When Rex started kindergarten I told Mark he was nervous.

“Why?” Mark asked

” He is afraid he won’t have any friends.”  I loved Mark’s candid response.  “I’m still afraid of that.”

So, I went into my archives where I talked about making mom friends.  It still holds up today.

Summer bucket list

I might not be the most prolific blogger this week.  I’m working on my summer bucket list.

 

Natural history museum= check

take kids on new light rail = check

picnic across town with old friend in favorite park = check

spend time with Oliver before he leaves for college = check ( and he is gone)

take Viv shopping for back to school clothes = check

Take the kids to the beach = check

 

see my friends who live in greater LA area, but are kind of far out. = 1 0ut of 3 check.  Malibu, yes,  OC, Castaic no.

The last thing on my list is 1) Vivien finishing her summer homework.  It’s so she keeps her academic brain in shape, but truley 70 % I do in the last  2 weeks of the summer. 2) GETTING OUT OF TOWN.  I’m  taking my kids to San Francisco.  I lived there for over 9 years and have some serious good friends there.  My kids are just old enough that a road trip with them doesn’t terrify me and also I think I can do it because I bought  a two screen strapped to the headrest DVD player.  Just used it to Santa  Barbara and with the headphones my life has changed.  If they take out the headphones I go nuts as I don’t think I can listen to “The Cat in the Hat” movie anymore despite my admiration for Mike Meyers.

From SF I am taking them to Yosemite.  The holy grail of spirituality for me.  Growing up we went every year and I was conceived there.  This is the longest I’ve gone without going there in my life.  The last time was the summer of ’08.  Halycon days.  I was pregnant with Rex and the economy hadn’t tanked.  We still thought we had money and had never heard  of Bernie Madoff.  I rented the most expensive cabins for family members, our treat.   The last couple of years between money and Rex being so little I haven’t gone.

little did I know that in a few months my life would be turned upside down

Now, I’m going to the lesser accomodations, but, it’s fine.  I just want to smell the warm pine, I want to feel the cold Merced River around my feet. I want Rex to experience it.  I want my kids to get addicted to it they way I did.  I’m already covered in mosquito bites here, so why not get closer to nature.  I want to walk in the meadow that I walked with my father, looking up at half dome.  Where he told me we owed this park to President Lincoln.  Where my sisters and I floated down intertubes in our river shoes, our mom making hot coco for us at our cabin or tent.

By they way, look how hot my mom is here.  How she could look like that sitting on a rock while staying up in the mountains I have no idea.  I remember my swim suit.  I loved it.

I feel a bit brave doing this without Mark.  I’ve never taken such a an extensive trip with my kids without another adult.  But, I’m tired of being a mommy shut in.  I think we can do it.

The right time would be when we could all go.  But, Mark has to work and my father is never coming back.

The right time to go would be when I could afford several nights in a comfy cabin with a full bath.  But, who knows when that will be.

The right time is right now.  I have to seize the moment. I haven’t been back since my dad died.  I will hear his voice cautioning me not to go to close the falls.  Yelling at me not to order a full entree at the Ahwahnee dining room because it was so expensive  ($12).

I think it’s a shame that the parks are pricing out the middle class.  The nicest hotel there, the Ahwahnee is over $500 a night.  The Curry tents with no bath are $150. Growing up our family would stay one to two weeks.  Not going to happen now.

Next week, we will be back to school.  I will be an assistant AYSO coach.  So, feel the sun!  It’s starting to set. ( slamm door, motor on, burning rubber, see yah)

BFF… for 45 Minutes

The most important friendships for moms are the fleeting ones. As we get older and more involved in work and family, the deep, great friendships are still on the books, but they have very little relevance to our daily life. Particularly with my first born, any little chat with a neighbor or person in a store brightened my day. Like a new kid in the neighborhood, I used to take her on walks hoping some mom and baby would be on their front porch and ready to be my friend (after more than of year of that walk, I did get a couple of neighbor friends).

I was reminded of this yesterday.

After a weekend of air conditioning and TV, I decided the kids and I needed to escape. But we had to act like refugees in a war. Well, at least refugees from a heat wave and stinky skies due to a horrible fire in Angeles National Forest and surrounding areas. I start the car to cool it off and then put the kids in (still don’t know how moms who live in places like Phoenix do it).

We drove 20 minutes southwest to a shady park. It was ten degrees cooler than our area. When we got there, I saw one family having a picnic, but otherwise the place was deserted. I was already dreading how I would have to hold Rex, shading his face from the sun as Vivien wanted me to “play” with her. I of course wanted to sit my body down on the bench with my back under the shade of Chinese elm and occasionally say, “That’s great!” and “I’m watching you.”

After a few minutes a mom walked into the park with her 4 year old and 20 month old. They looked like the right food group. Yeah.

First needed friendship: For Vivien. She had a good buddy from the get go. They were playing well together, and now I could sit and do the main job of a mom at a park for a kid who has equilibrium.

Predator watch. Other than that I’m not really needed.

Second friendship needed: for me. Quickly the mom and I started chatting. The friend mating ritual is the always the same for moms. We observe how they speak to their kids: are they kind, but setting limits? Do they have roughly the same values and attitude? If they had a spazzy kid who is pushing little kids around and they don’t intervene, this friendship is going NO,where.

We learned the age and names or our kids, where they went to pre-school, how much it cost.. “more than going to UCLA”. She learned where I grew up. I learned she had a stepdaughter and so on.

Then another mom and girl appeared who seemed cool. And she had better sand toys than we did so this was a real coup. That mom and I discussed the horrible Dugard case.

“Pure evil, so scary.”

First mom had to go since her little one needed a nap. We all said good-bye. Second mom and I decided to pull the girls at the same time so our exit would have less screams.

It wasn’t until I was strapping my kids back in the car that I realized I DIDN’T KNOW THE MOMS’ NAMES. And they didn’t know mine.

Is it some odd mom bonding that our own selves are secondary? That it’s our kids, including our fears for them, that bond us more than knowing our names, where we work, hobbies? That’s a whole other layer of friendship and not for this very important 45 to 90 minute park friendship.

Or are these mom friends who you only see once more like super heroes?

“Who was that masked mom?”

On Momversation: Online Friends Vs. Real Friends

Here the blogger moms of Momversation discuss the new-world problem of real-life friends versus online friends. Do they have the same weight? Or is one more helpful than the other? How is it for you? Let me know here, or comment on the Momversation site.

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