I lived in NYC for a decade, but I didn't really find my 'tribe' until I had a baby.
This is not meant to be a declaration that, ‘YOU’RE NOBODY TIL YOU’RE A MOMMY!!!’ or anything; it just turned out that I didn’t form any real lasting friendships in the city until I had had my kid. New moms are like frenzied hound dogs, always sniffing around for fresh blood: “Oh! You’re exhausted and wearing a newborn in a sling? OMG, me too! Let’s go to Starbucks!”
I found most of my friends that way.
I’m discovering though, as I get older, that I will probably never be as open-hearted, unguarded, and willing to let people in as I was at that time. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m too busy now. Or too damn tired. Or I’ve just lost faith in humanity in general. Hopefully not though.
I met Kara when we were chasing our toddlers around the local playground. She wore Chuck Taylors, a delightfully wild mop of ‘I’m a mom, fuck it’ curly hair, and a beautiful tattoo that spanned the top part of her shoulder.
Immediately I was all, GOOBLE GOBBLE ONE OF US, ONE OF US. I decided she had to be my friend. We connected instantly, over so many things. The fact that our husbands were both artists who made very little money. That we were on the crunchy side, but were not above feeding our kids mac and cheese when we were too tired to cook. That we adored our children but also liked a good glass of wine with grownups sometimes.
When my marriage imploded several years later, Kara was one of the first people I called. There was no judgement, no begging for juicy details. There was, simply, “Just tell me what I can do.”
It was she who lovingly looked after my daughter so I could go back to work. And she who made dinner for us many Sunday nights (a ritual that became known as ‘Dinner and a Bath’, as we’d pop the kids in the tub after eating and let them pass out while we hung out). She also saw me cry on a park bench more times than I can count. She, along with a small handful of other wonderful people, pulled me through the mire that my life had become.
Now, years later, my quietly beautiful friend is going through some shit of her own. Since we left the city for greener pastures years ago — both of us moving to different corners of the US — I’m not sure I can be there for her in the capacity that she was for me back then. I’m not sure she’d even need me to be, since she’s about three thousand times tougher than most women I know.
Still. I'll be here to help her sail through the mire. And I know, without a doubt, that there will be so much sunshine for her on the other side.
Here's something I wrote a LONG time ago. Maybe you remember this. Oldie but goodie.
2 days ago