Thursday, October 04, 2007

in search of intelligent life

I was a little anxious this morning as I got up to face the day. I dressed quickly and rushed to my local coffee house with River for a quick bite, then came home and put him down for a nap. I picked up the house and put together a platter of fruit, then like a teenager watching the door for her prom date's arrival, I waited.

River and I had a mommydate.

I don't call it a playdate, because as nice as it is for River to be exposed to other babies, he views them as objects to be studied (and if he's lucky, sucked on) rather than human beings with whom he can play. So the date is really for the mommies. It was my first solo mommydate, and I was nervous because I had a lot riding on its success. First of all we don't have any other friends with kids, and when the really nice couple close to delivering their very own munchkin moved in next door, I thought this might finally be the opportunity we were looking for.

A little history: in New York I did not know the name of a single person living in our building; I probably couldn't have even pointed them out in a line up. In our first apartment in Cambridge, our downstairs neighbor used to hang out with the tow truck guy as he loaded up our car, and by the look of the folks trailing in and our of our upstairs neighbor's door, he was dealing to all the local burners. In our current home, I recognize the folks in our condo association, and even manage to say hi once a month. The last time I felt a sense of community with my neighbors I was ten years old and running around with chocolate milk stains on my shirts and scabs on my knees. We live in Cambridge, in part, because of the strong community--I'd just really love to be a part of it.

So I was anxious for our mommydate to go well. If it did, it might mean dinners together, walks to the park, and weekend barbecues. If it didn't, I would be back to my mommy-less social sphere and community-less community.

(Thank goodness for Kevin and Crystal, without whom we might be completely socially bereft.)

I am generally very reserved in making new friends and always picky about those I let into my life. You wouldn't think it the way I spill intimate details to any idiot with an internet connection, but in person, I hold my thoughts close and protect my feelings. But I had a good intuition I would get along with these neighbors--who I'll call The J's--from the very start. We met Mr. J first, and after only a few encounters he entrusted us with his house keys while they spent the weekend away. That, and his unbelievably upbeat and friendly demeanor, had me sold. I figured Mrs. J had to be cool too, but I didn't have any direct knowledge of that.

When she came to the door with Baby J in tow this morning, River was still asleep, so it gave me a chance to chat without being completely distracted. We had a great meandering conversation, the kind that makes you feel connected, entertained, interested, and interesting. As expected, we talked about the babies and our experience of motherhood, but by the time River woke up we had also talked about our careers, girlfriends, parents, hometowns, and ideas about religion. It was so easy. I didn't have struggle to connect or hide details of my life that might be too liberal for her, and I found Mrs. J to be down to earth, intelligent, sensitive, and funny--just the kind of person I could be friends with.

I'm thrilled. I have great hopes for making this mommydate a regular thing and perhaps getting the whole family together. With any luck Thom and I could expand our community to the house next door.

3 comments:

Andy said...

This was really a very thoughtful and insighful post, Summer.

Well done, indeed.

Congrats on your Mommydate. Here's to more of them.

CiscoKid said...

And so it begins. That is how new friendships develop with new parents. Though you'd like to keep your old friends, unless they have kids, you preety much are out of the picture as a parent...
See you at Home!

Mom said...

I'm so excited that I can read your blog from Mexico! I miss you so much and now I feel like we got to have a chat and almost like I could hold River by looking at the pictures! So glad you're making friends with your nice neighbors! Can't wait to see you all and hug my babies.
Love,
Mom