I rushed into my husbands’ arms when he came home from work, planted a kiss, and announced, “Honey! I picked up a woman at the zoo today!” Now, I know what you are thinking, but please don’t judge me, it was a moment of desperation. You see we had moved to a new state a couple of months before, neither of us knowing a soul. We enjoyed exploring on the weekends together, but during the week, while he went to work, and engaged with other adults, I was keeping company with our 4 year old, 2 year old and 3 month old. The most sophisticated conversations I had in a typical day contained words like “boo boo” and “sippy cup”. As you might imagine by the time my husband walked through that door in the evening, I tackled him with pent up conversation, plans to go out, or threw the screaming, kids at him, and hid. I knew that these were not the greatest receptions from his long days of work. I also knew what I needed. Girlfriends.
It had been much easier to make friends in school, at work, or in playgroup, but as an adult with none of the outlets listed available, I found myself at a loss. That day I had been at the Zoo with aforementioned children, and noticed a woman at the Terrapin tank. Sure she was pretty, also fashionably dressed, but what attracted me to her,
were the two children by her side. They looked to be similar ages to my two oldest, so I made my move. I walked away from my children, and sidled up to the Terrapin tank (not unlike a bar, sans hair flip), then called them over. “Look, it’s a Diamondback turtle!” I exclaimed, sounding a bit too loud and excited, but sure enough, my children took the bait and rushed over, and the other kids looked up at me. Their mother now noticed me too. I took my opportunity, and struck up conversation. It turned out we only lived a few streets apart, and as our kids began to chatter about the turtles, we exchanged pleasantries and eventually numbers to set up a play date. I was elated! I had a friend!
I feel blessed years later to have filled my life with local friends whom I cherish, and feel like I’ve always known. When I think back to how I got to this point, and remember that void, I wonder how I ever survived those first few months here without them. The truth is that I was within two hours drive of my very best childhood friends. On occasion when my husband was at work, I would toss the kids in the car and drive for hours just for girlfriend therapy. It was after a couple of days of driving an hour
one way to see one friend, and then two hours in the other direction the next day to see another that I realized my desperate situation. I would always have my “Friendevers” to run to, I knew that, but I had to face that my home was here ,and I needed to make friends here. I needed someone I could call up on short notice just to get together for coffee without three hours round trip in the car.
The process of finding friends struck me as not terribly unlike dating, Searching out another soul looking to connect. Wanting, no, hoping, to be attractive, and interesting enough for them to want to see you again. There were good play dates and bad along the way. Some of the charming, funny, and magnetic women turned out to be similar to those charismatic bad boys that had once seemed so alluring, but could be hurtful, and untrue. There were women who I met who already had a close-knit group, with no time to add new friends to their lives. Then there were pleasant surprises, finding the most genuine, funny and caring friend I could wish for in someone who had flown under my radar. I joined all the playgroups, book clubs, and parent teacher groups I could find, and through it all friends with common interests filtered through and filled my life in a way that only good girlfriends can. Sure I had some one-night stands along the way, but when looking for friends, the soul mates are the ones I was truly after.
A version of this post was previously seen on www.amomknowsbest.com