I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles. I was a new mom without any friends. As if being a mom with a baby isn’t isolating enough, I was a new mom with a baby and a high pressure full time job at a big law firm.
My husband was staying home with our baby girl while I left the house at 6:30a to beat Los Angeles traffic and got home around 6:30p (if I was lucky), which was early by firm standards.
I had no time to make friends. I tried to find playgroups my husband would participate in, but he’s not a joiner to begin with and even less so with a group of moms!
I tried to hook him up with daddy groups, but this was before the stay at home dad became in fashion and there was slim pickings. It seemed most of them were centered around Agoura Hills, which was about an hour from where we lived.
He got together once with this one guy from Beverly Hills. They met at a park. His 2 year old was close to reading, ours was barely talking. My husband never went back. He couldn’t take the competition. I understood.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been that lonely in my life. I’m talking capital “L” lonely.
Just remembering back to that time fills me with sadness. On the weekends, I would pack up the baby for the beach and watch my husband surf.
With longing and envy, I’d watch the small groups of families with their children happily playing together while me and my little one sat by ourselves. I couldn’t figure out how to insert myself into their cute little enclaves of happiness without feeling like an intruder.
So I sat, sneaked glances and eavesdropped, hoping to come up with an opening that would be the perfect thing to say at just the right time.
I never did.
It all changed when I started looking at preschools for my daughter.
We found the perfect school and it was right down the street from our house.
I called it mud school because when I went for the tour, there were several kids playing naked in the mud. It was just our type of school!
Just before my daughter’s third birthday, she finally got to go to school and it was there that I finally found my tribe of women.
Joanne, who introduced me to God, was my first spiritual teacher, held me in her arms as I gave birth to my son (herself 6 months pregnant) and turned out to be my primary source of peace and hope as I navigated my divorce.
Martha, who hosted my beautiful blessingway ceremony prior to the birth of my son, had my daughter over to her house every day for months after he was born and attended La Leche League conferences and meetings with me (we were both leaders and radical breastfeeding advocates).
Judy, who I could always count on for a laugh, a sarcastic comment, and of late, a shared spiritual path.
Lisa, who had twins after I was done giving birth to my babies and gave me the joy of helping her take care of them on the night they were born.
These were my girlfriends. I had never had girlfriends in this way before and it was transformational.
Today, our kids are no longer babies. Four of us are divorced. We are each on a deep and everlasting spiritual path. Martha and Joanne live in Colorado. Judy in Ventura. Lisa is immersed in her twins. Joanne, Judy and Lisa are homeschooling. Martha is in law school. I’m busy as heck building big businesses.
And yet there is a bond between us that will never fade. A bond created by raising children together. A bond created by a shared parenting philosophy. A bond created by supporting each other through births, deaths and divorces.
Tonight, for the first time in a lonnnggg time, I got to spend the evening with four of my best girlfriends, not as a business owner, or a TV expert or an author. Just as me. Boy, it felt good.