One of my closest friends has moved away, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, I am heartbroken. You see, she wasn’t just a friend. She was a Mommy Friend. Those of you who have struggled to keep old friends and make new ones through the transition to parenthood can probably relate to just how sad I am to see her go.
We met at one of those inane Mommy and Me classes that would have been a weekly torture session had I not found a friend. We started out with a few tentative play dates—would our kids (then about 9 months old) get along? Would we have anything to talk about? Is it possible we might actually like each other?
It was all of the above, and more. Not only did our children take an instant liking to each other, but she and I became incredibly close over the next couple of years. All of the moving parts that have to fit into place for Mommy friendships to work actually did. Our schedules matched, our parenting styles were remarkably similar, and our children had a great time together, and soon came to prefer each other to almost anyone else. Best of all, she and I became great friends. We actually found points of connection beyond our kids—we talked about our families and friends, the transition to motherhood, and questions about our career paths.
We often called each other at 8 am to discuss the night-time waking (I tried to not to gloat about my daughter sleeping through) and the previous evening’s dinner battles. (Her son actually eats vegetables. I don’t understand. It’s not normal.) We fed and bathed them together, and explored museums and playgrounds. When my daughter broke her leg the day before I was due to give birth to her sister, we came home from the hospital to a new toy and that night’s meal waiting on our doorstep. I slept at her house and took care of her son the night she gave birth to her second child.
I grew into motherhood alongside my dear friend, and now that she has moved, I’m having a hard time imagining what it will be like without her. Even though I had known about the move for weeks, I couldn’t bring myself to discuss it with my daughter until a few days before they left. She’s upset, too, in her 2-year-old sort of way, talking about how “sad and lonely” she’ll be without our friends, but then in the next breath she’s already talking about friends who aren’t leaving, and the new friends she’ll make in preschool.
It’s harder for me. I know that such good friends are few and far between, and I was looking forward to a time when we could just sit on the park bench while the kids played on their own, neither of us nursing an infant or soothing a fussy toddler. I was looking forward to our kids growing up together (I always imagined my daughters ending up with Jews, but I’d make an exception for her son), and I had hoped to see our second children become friends.
It could still happen, I suppose, just not the way I had imagined. My friend and her family have moved to Europe. (G-d love the woman for keeping her sanity while moving with a toddler and a newborn to a country where they don’t speak the language—she’s amazing.) We’ll do the best we can to keep in touch over Skype and email, but it’s not the same. I’ll be missing her for a long time, but I’m trying to stay grateful to have had such a good friend during the first years of motherhood. It’s a rare gift, and I’m lucky to have had it.