Breakin’ up the Ol’ Gang

When I first became a mommy, I was completely unaware of the loneliness.

In no time at all, in between changes, feedings, tummy time, etc., you realize that you want to talk to someone. You really want to talk to anyone over 21.

That is why the Good Lord invented play groups.

Your babies can get together and “play” with each other, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The real reason they were created was so that mommies could congregate and commiserate for an hour or so before going back into your binky-ridden house, alone.

One of the mommies I knew from post-natal yoga, in her infinite wisdom, organized a play group in her church. It got pretty popular pretty quickly. The babies got to play and interact (i.e. play adjacent to each other, with the occasional toy snatching thrown in) with each other, while the mommies (or daddies) had a little adult interaction of their own.

But now, it seems a pattern is developing.

A year and a half ago, the mommy who organized it had to leave the church for missionary work. But she left the group in the capable hands of a good friend.

I just got news that the good friend is packing up her family and heading down to Louisiana.

I hate this idea. Mind you, it’s for completely selfish reasons. I have nothing against Louisiana itself and logically, it makes sense. The grandparents live in the area and can help her when she needs it. I can’t blame her for that. It’s just that, if she’s down there, she can’t be up here and that… eh sucks.

And another mommy friend (who happens to specialize in baked goods) is thinking about following suit and heading South, too.

And there’s a possibility that we’ll lose the play group in the process, which REALLY sucks.

Now, I’m not delusional. I know that New York changes all of the time and I never expected all of our kids to grow up together. Heck, my Little Man’s four now and soon, they’ll probably have to shoo him out of the group for being too old. It’s the Menudo principle.

Like I said, it’s totally selfish. I’ve grown to know these women and share with them. And a lot of us have already moved away. To lose those last few ties would be really rough for me. Of course, I can always find a new group, but it takes a while to form those bonds.

To see if your kids can play together without it turning into a Gymboree free-for-all.

To know that this person will watch your child just as cautiously as they watch their own.

To have the other mommy take one look at you and know if you need them to just take the baby to give your arms a break, a cup of coffee and a seat or a chardonnay and an ear to bend.

I’ve watched their kids hug my kid, for no other reason than they’ve been around each other since they were babies and they have that trust with each other. I’ve watched our boys and girls giggle together and make those first attempts at contact. I’ve watched them cry and try to comfort whomever is mourning the recent loss of their cookie. I’ve watched them chase after each other, endlessly, without knowing why and having the time of their lives.

But see, while that was happening, we got to be friends, too. We’ve had birthday parties together and cleaned up spills and watched each other’s kids while the other mommy made a quick dash to the bathroom for an uninterrupted pee. (Trust me, as a mom, you cherish those things.)

And now, there’s an expiration date on those things. On the memories, on the support, all of it. And I will miss it. I do miss it. The moms that I hear from in Florida, Alabama, New Jersey, Virginia, Romania… I miss them all.

And when I miss people and babies and moments in time, as ridiculous as it sounds, my pangs of regret are best echoed by Avenue Q, of all things.

I wish I had taken more pictures.

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