And Then They Grew (Day 323)

(Photo: The kid crew from five or six years ago.)

When my oldest child was 9 months old, we moved into the house where we currently live. Our new neighborhood had several families in close proximity, many of whom had infants like we had.

The adults became fast friends. As did the kids. And for several years, before schooling began, these other kids and the new ones who were born became the closest thing to siblings. They saw each other every day, played together, were forced together even when they were testy and didn’t want to be with other kids.

Then school began. They went to different preschools. Then one family moved out of the neighborhood. Then another. Then some went to private schools. Some to public. They were dispersed. They made new friends.

But the parents remained close. We saw each other when we could. We often brought the kids, but sometimes we had adult nights out, with babysitters watching the kids. We got to know each other better as more than just the parents of these little kids, as people with pasts and futures.

The oldest of this group of kids are now 19 years old. They are sophomores in college. The younger ones are 17 years old. Seniors in high school.

One of the 19 year olds just returned from a few weeks in Spain on a woman’s leadership program. Her mother decided to make a Spanish dinner of paella and flan to celebrate her return. Three families met tonight to share in that dinner.

While the adults were cooking and chatting, the kids, who aren’t really kids anymore, gathered together in the next room. At one point one of my friends, one of the other two moms, directed my attention to our children, who were deeply engaged in conversation, laughing and leaned in toward each other, the way old friends will do when they haven’t seen each other in awhile.

We, of course, remember all of the difficulties we had with our children. All of the troubles, all of the problems, all of the moments we wish to forget. But they remember those same moments as living life, as being kids, as building memories. They are early on the path of lifelong friends.

The three moms tried not to get sentimental, but that’s hard because the three of us kept each other sane and alive during those years of struggles with our kids, and lifted each other up when the kids triumphed or learned something that we so needed them to learn. We couldn’t help but be happy to see how much they seemed to genuinely enjoy being together.

The dinner was fabulous. I only made the side dish and contributed to the pre-meal tapas. The other two Moms did the bulk of the work. Not sure how that happened except they can’t let go of the fact that I didn’t cook much when the kids were small, which leads them to forget that I’m actually not a bad cook. But I’m okay with that, because they are both amazing cooks and the food was knock-your-socks-off good.

Great food. Great conversation. Great memories.

The best part of all though? That was dragging the kids away from each other when it was time to go. They were having so much fun then didn’t want the night to end.

I know we shouldn’t take credit for the friendships they’ve formed, but still, it’s hard not to pat ourselves on the back and say, “We done good.”


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