When Mom Friends Move On

The flurry of getting my kids through the first week of school, new classmates, and new activities has left me feeling curiously abandoned this week.

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Abandoned? Well, since 2006 my kids have attended the same wonderful preschool in New York City.  The school is filled with all sorts of fantastic and interesting families and I have made a lot of close friends there whom I saw nearly every day.

After dropping off our kids, we often would grab a quick coffee before setting off for our days.  We compared notes on potty training and sleep issues, Halloween costumes and summer camps.  And we saw each other at countless school events and get-togethers during the course of the school year.

But suddenly — snap — that easy, casual friendship cord was cut.  This year, even more acutely than in years past – as my children moved onto another grade and in some cases into another school, so did many of the other children in their classes along with their parents. Those relationships forged through our children– bonding, reassuring and humor-filled coffee clutches, moms who became my buddies — are now suddenly gone.  It was hard maintaining these friendships with the new distance. Now, getting together with them will take effort and becomes another thing to schedule.  Add one more thing to the monthly family calendar – great!

Although I know I will stay in touch with my closest friends who have left this preschool – there are several I see as often as I can, and our bond endures — I also know that reality has dictated that in my adult life, certain friends with whom I had this proximity and frequent interaction did, once the proximity was gone, become very hard to keep up with.

This feeling of loss likewise has struck me with respect to my first mom friends.  When my first came along, I organized a weekly playgroups with other new moms and we compared all of our notes on life with new babies.  We went through first feedings, the first time leaving the baby and for some, getting pregnant with baby number two.  I love some of them dearly and they became part of my support system but alas, they have moved to the suburbs or sent their kids to a different school than I did, and we haven’t gotten together now in years.  Take away the proximity and repeated interactions, and only the strongest and closest of friendships will survive.

For those who do stay in the city, you’ll know what I mean when someone gets the “she moved to the burbs” description — very different from saying “she moved 30 minutes away” or “she bought a great house and her kids get to run around outside.”  Rather, the very way we craft the phrase indicates that the friend moving away is out of our city orbit, in another world — the burbs, and not part of our daily interaction as was the case before.  I can’t say for certain but I highly doubt that when a mom moves from one suburban town to another neighboring town, she receive the same sort of absolute phrase.  Sorry you city-suburban transplants, but you know it’s true!

So there we are.  Another new year.  With some friends moving on, only the bestest and truest will I continue to see.  But of course there is plenty of space for new friends too: that first introduction in the classroom, a smile, a handshake, and a search for something in common will hopefully develop into another buddy system. So I guess that all in all, I can’t complain.

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