When we moved to Georgia I was five months pregnant with my first child, an only child myself who never had any intention of moving away from home. All of my family was in Louisiana, as well as Hubby's, and many of my friends were people I'd know since elementary school. But opportunity came a knocking (for Hubby at least) so I packed up and left Louisiana - the only home I'd ever known. It wasn't easy and for the first few years I was in denial...I refused to call Georgia home and I dreamed of the day we'd return to our real home.
By chance, a good friend of mine from college had a sister in the Atlanta area who attended the same church we had joined. He came to town for Thanksgiving, just a few weeks after our big move, and hooked us up. I believe his sister's first words to me were, "You're going to want to join the mom's group." The church had a group of stay-home moms who met weekly for playdates, field trips, and everyone's favorite, Mom's Night Out. Being new to the whole game of motherhood and staying home, I of course followed her instructions. What wonderful advice that turned out to be. I often say those moms saved my life! As if making the adjustment to motherhood wasn't enough, or going from working girl to clueless homemaker, I knew absolutely no one (with the exception of Hubby and newborn Sport) in my new surroundings. I lived for our weekly Wednesday get-togethers and was a regular long before Sport was old enough to actually participate. These women were my lifeline. When I had surgery and later a miscarriage, these were the women who fed my family and took care of my son when I couldn't. It was an experienced mother of three who gave Sport his first solid food - a graham cracker stick - when I was too scared to try. Leading up to the day Spice was born so many of them were on stand-by, ready and willing to take a phone call in the middle of the night and stay with Sport while Hubby and I headed off to the hospital - no small commitment considering Spice was born just two days after Christmas! In the days after Spice's birth they once again fed us and gave Sport a place to go that was much more fun than sitting home watching mom nurse a new baby. Life was good.
Then the unthinkable happened...our babies began to grow up and head off to school and one by one we moved into new homes, new churches, and new directions.
We tried to keep in touch, but with this kid at soccer practice and that kid at scouts...it got hard. Table reservations for our monthly night out slowly dwindled from 12 or more to eight, then four, sometimes only two and sadly at times even none. There've been the occasional e-mails and phone calls with pledges to "get together soon" and always the annual Christmas card photos that leave you scratching your head and wondering where the years have gone when you stare at the older and wiser faces of children you still remember as toddlers just learning to walk and talk.
Earlier this week, I was so lucky to welcome two of these dear friends into my home for a little "friendly reunion." C and I keep in touch fairly regularly. Up until a couple of years ago we lived just minutes from one other and Sport has always considered her youngest among his best friends. Unfortunately, it hasn't been so easy keeping up with B, but this week, the stars aligned, the Heavens opened up, and for a few short hours (too short) we were able to once again sit around the table and chat while kids climbed trees, ran in circles, played ball, and had a grand old time in general, all around us. I've often lamented to Hubby that no matter how hard I've tried, I've never been able to find friends as wonderful as that first group of mothers who so readily welcomed me into their circle when I needed it most. As B left several hours later, she confirmed my complaints, "You know, I've never found another group as good as this one. We were so lucky."
Earlier in the day, looking out at the kids piled around two tables on our deck eating lunch I couldn't help but flashback to snack time during the old days when chubby little hands and faces dug into more toddler friendly fare, and I couldn't help but think of the old adage, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold.”
Do you have any "golden" friends you've been missing? If so, call them up make plans to catch up, real plans. It'll do your heart good.