When Lilah turned 1, I realized that she had no friends of her own. Not that a 1-year-old really has friends, but moms of 1-year-olds are usually friends with moms of other 1-year-olds. Not me. I really did want to have new "mommy friends," but I just didn't connect with anyone in particular at those Mommy & Me classes (music, yoga, kindergym). I even flunked out of the mommy group I joined. It was made up of almost entirely new moms in their mid-to-late 20s, which meant I was a good 15 years older than most of them. When the babies were all around 3-months-old, the conversation turned to monitors and did I have the one with the heart rate monitor, breathing monitor, video or all three?
"We don't use a monitor," I said. "We just leave her bedroom door and our bedroom door open so we can hear her if she's crying. I think it's working. She seems to sleep through the night and the best thing is, so do we!"
The other moms didn't get it. They looked at me like I was either crazy or didn't understand the "new" monitor technology. I felt old and old-fashioned and I didn't like it. I dropped out.
The thing was, I didn't really need any more friends. I loved the ones I already had, even though they'd all phased out of the baby stage. But maybe hanging out with just me, her (much) older sisters and their friends wasn't the greatest thing for Lilah. I vowed that in the coming year, I'd make a better effort to meet moms with kids her age.
Cue Lilah's second birthday. You would think I could have scrounged up at least a handful of toddlers to invite to her party, right? Didn't happen. I was too busy carpooling, grocery shopping, cooking, walking the dog, writing, managing my marriage, whatever, all with Lilah in tow. I wish I could say it didn't really matter to me that I hadn't thrown myself headlong into mommydom in search of friends for Lilah, but I couldn't. There was a tiny twinge of guilt squeezing my heart every now and then.
Until we started to sing "Happy Birthday" to Lilah.
There she was, sitting at the dining room table at her grandparents house, surrounded by her adoring sisters and cousins, thrilled with her Elmo cake and stack of presents. Loved, loved, loved.
It won't be like this forever. I know she's only 2, but in a blink of an eye, she'll be 12 and won't want to hang out with her family so much -- I'm already seeing that change with Ella. For now, I want to cradle my baby in the heart of her family. I want to keep her close. She has plenty of time for friends.
This post originally appeared on Flingo.