Every time we pick up and move again the cycle begins once more. Find the friends, make the friends, keep the friends. It was easier before I had a small person hanging onto me at all times. My people were the ones I met at work or out in the world. The stylish people with the fancy skinny coffee drinks and the fresh highlights. My people were the ones who lived with abandon and spent the last $5 in their bank accounts on happy hour drinks on a summer’s afternoon. Without a baby they’d still be my people, and inside a part of me is still their people. But with the addition of my own new person, I need new people, too.
So, we moved again and here we are, hand-in-hand at the park. She’s wearing something pretty and I look like something that got dragged here by the hair, leggings with a hole at the knee that I’ve pulled inward to conceal. Once-fabulous designer handbag overstuffed with diapers, pacifiers, and packs of Splenda I shouldn’t be putting in the four cups of coffee a day it takes to get me through.
And here we are and I’m afraid to speak to you because the old permeating shyness takes hold. But I’ll write it down today and maybe I’ll live it tomorrow, as you are now my people and I think we need each other.
You are my people who count in months, first one, then ten, and 17. I won’t scoff if you say he’s 23 because I get it. My person won’t be two until she’s two, either.
You are my people who dry-shampooed your hair today because last night you were too tired to wash it and this morning the baby wasn’t tired enough to let you. You are my people who feel pretty damn hot in those new pricy workout leggings you finally treated yourself to, and you know what? I don’t give a shit if you actually made it to yoga in them or not.
You are my people who sing ridiculous songs and patiently dole out snacks while somewhere in your mind, you’re wondering when nap time will arrive. Who sit and smile at the sudden pull of overwhelming love for that tiny human growing so strong, laughing so loudly, playing so hard. And who feel instant exasperation when the mood shifts and the tiny human starts acting like an ungrateful little jerk.
You are my people who try to remember to do the crafts and move the laundry and organize the drawers. But who recently spent an entire afternoon’s nap sitting on your ass watching good-bad tv alone with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) because you could and you wanted to, so there.
You are my people who are trying to find your new role, your new meaning, your new place. Somewhere between the woman you once were and the mom you’ve become. Who hustle to make the most of the time with them when you’re not working or cleaning or pretending to try and have an adult conversation, somewhere and with someone.
You are my people who try so hard and fail. Who cry in the bathroom with the shower running because you’re tired and stressed out and no one seems to get it. Who smile and read stories and smooth back silky curls from sweaty foreheads. Who feel, sometimes, like it’s all going way too fast and desperately wish to slow it down. And feel, other times, like it’s all way too much and you might not be cut out for this after all.
Well, you are cut out for it and you’re doing a great job, no matter which way or ways you’ve chosen. Hang in there, savor what you can, and wish away what you need to, because some days are just hard. But when you are feeling particularly alone and need to escape, I hope you’ll go to the playground and look up. Because you might just be standing in the midst of your people and trust me, they could really use a friend.