Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ode to a Play Group...

So, I'm going to bring the whole room down now while I kvetch about missing our play group. Because today was the first play group that Ethan and I have missed due to this whole "Let's go live in a hotel in LA until we're old enough to actually be excited by the free spaghetti dinner" thing we're rocking right now. (Because our stuff? Might never show up. "Never" being Monday of this coming week. But still. Gimme my stuff!!) And I'm feeling a bit blue. Okay, I'm feeling "bottle of wine and pint of Ben and Jerry's" blue.

Let me preface the self-pitying tirade I'm about to embark upon by saying that there is a part of me that is LOVING Los Angeles. Truly, the weather? Doesn't even seem real, it's so nice. The people in our neighborhood? Do not walk by without stopping to talk. We've found parks to play in, beaches to frolic on (Santa Monica pier? Love it.), and farmer's markets to peruse just blocks from our house. It is impossible not to be happy here---when you're not thinking about what you've left behind.

Tonight Husband & I shied away from anything new in the way of culinary experience and took ourselves to tried and true PF Chiangs for the same spicy chicken and chicken with broccoli that we always get. Delightfully comforting (if frightfully unhealthy). As I looked around the room while waiting for someone, anyone to bring my fitful child a smiley-cat'd plastic cup of water, I noticed three separate tables of girlfriends drinking and chatting, sharing a couple of dishes together and I immediately wanted to mash my face into a heaping bowl of ice cream and sob. It occurred to me--how long will it be before I can sit around a table with a group of girls and laugh and share drinks again? Cue hyperventilation and bottomless pit of loneliness feeling. And thus my whiney, sad, self-pitying post.

So I knew I was going to miss the moms. The thing that was so great about this play group was that it just happened. There was no signing up, no walking into a crowd of "we already know each other and get along famously; what can YOU bring to the group?" moms, no sense of "joining" something.

I have a hard time with that sort of thing, mainly because when it comes to making friends with groups of women, unfairly to them, I tend to get stuck mentally in my all-girl high school, where alternately ostracising and taunting random girls, at random times, was a legitimate form of entertainment (think Mean Girls). The fear of being that random girl was just too much; it was always easier to hang out at the table of slightly misfit almost nerds and count down the days until college while scribbling down random musings in my ratty journals. After four years in an all girl high school, I couldn't even fathom the idea of rushing a sorority in college. Basically, the idea of joining anything as a means of making girl friends made my skin crawl.

Which is why this play group was so great--we all just happened to sign up for the same Mommy & me yoga class when our kids were about three months old. We all smiled shyly at each other across the room for several weeks and then slowly started chatting in between postures. When the sessions ran out, one of us said, "hey, we should all get together for coffee since we know we have this time slot free."

And thus it began. Coffee every week for months; then, when the kids were old enough to think sitting around in their strollers was a sucky way to spend their time, we moved to the church nursery of one of the mom's and we've been there ever since. A few new moms joined along the way and became as much a part of the group as the four or five of us who "started" it. The moms have been such a huge support to me in the past two years; we've shared so many, "oh my god, why won't this child sleep??!!" talks and "Is it normal that he's...." questions. I'm not sure if I'd be the mom I am today without them. I knew I'd be lonely without them and miss them. But the thing is, I didn't realize I'd miss the kids as much as I do.

Last week, as we rounded the corner from the elevator to the play room, we were greeted by Lilly's big cheery "HIIIII!" and I immediately wanted to get the mover's on the phone and tell them to turn around, that I couldn't do it. Nope. Not leaving. Gotta stay! I have this tremendous group of kiddos to watch grow up.

How is it that, while it occurred to me, and I'd already grieved, that there'd be no more ladies' nights out with the mamas, I had glossed over the idea that I was also leaving these sweet little girls who I'd been watching grow up for almost the past two years??!! These are the kids Ethan outgrew colic with, got his first kisses (and bites!) from; they are his first friends who he won't remember. For some reason, this turns me into puddles of weepy mush on my hotel-hard couch and I can do nothing but watch hours of Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood reruns at night, fighting the urge to go down to the lobby and buy more Hagen Daz (yes, this hotel has it to. But they also have spoons in the room).

So here's a little taste of what I might have missed today. Please note Ethan's burning desire to "all fall down" before the song calls for it. um...he's precocious like that...


Lindsay Margenau said...

Oh Sarah, I so feel for you! I felt exactly the same leaving play group, I still miss you guys terribly. All the new developments and the moms outings. Sadly, I haven't found anything similar here. I am hoping that'll change when I have another baby - and go through the newborn phase again - but I do think that what we had in play group was irreplicable. Its just amazing how it all came together and how great we all got along.

Becca said...

I'm sorry! I hope you can find something similar in LA. Maybe at the beach?

mrsmac said...

hey sarah. found your blog on my computer. must have been from years ago! anyway, just wanted to say real quick that it will get better- it'll just take some time. hang in there.

jonathan said...

Sarah- we just moved from Toronto a couple months back- and kow what you're going through. Just moved from the hills (urgh) to Santa Monica (yay) and hoping things will get better. 4.5 year girl and 1.5 year boy... any thoughts on where to hook up with others in the range?