Can we all agree that being a mom is tough? One of the best memories that I have from those difficult, exhausting days with little ones was the playgroup I joined. A group of moms got together weekly and while the kids played we chatted, cried and wondered how we would survive 18 more years. As the kiddos unloaded the toy chest and drooled on each other, we moms would sit and enjoy coffee and real conversation. We talked about everything and quickly became fast friends. Sometimes met at a playground, park or the local zoo, but during the winter (in Massachusetts) we rotated houses. As the highlight of my weekdays, on playgroup mornings I would shower, get dressed in real clothes and put on mascara.
One of our favorite memories from our younger years was on a rainy Spring day. We were sitting at my friend’s kitchen table enjoying tea and coffee cake chatting and thankful to be out of the house. Mid sentence one of my friends asked, “why is it so quiet?” We all bolted up from the table to find that our toddlers were not in the house. We raced out the back door to find them all happily splashing in puddles at the end of the driveway. Once all the kids were accounted for, dried off and back in the house, we all laughed and thanked God that everyone was safe.
A few years later, just two weeks after I gave birth to my third son, our group met at a local park with a private beach. My mother in law was visiting to help with the new baby and joined us. The kids all lined up with pails and shovels and played nicely in the surf. My mother in law and new baby sat back in a shaded area. The rest of us sat close by and every so often we did a head count to make sure that everyone was accounted for (see previous paragraph). I heard my friend ask,” Where is C?” (My #2 son) My eyes scanned the edge of the water and then along the beach area. I yelled to my mother in law to see if she had seen him. She stood up and scanned the beach. Suddenly we were all searching and I could hear my heart pounding. He was a fast 18 month old and wasn’t on the beach. I looked towards the water and tried to remember what his bathing suit looked like. I said out loud, God, please….this can’t be happening. I had been a lifeguard as a teenager and instinctively walked into the water, frantically searching the surface with my eyes. I was having what I can only describe as an out of body experience when I heard my friend yelling something. I turned to see her holding my son’s hand walking from the parking lot towards the beach. As I exhaled I noticed that the lifeguards were all holding hands and walking in the water. They were dredging for my son! My eyes filled with tears as I ran out of the water towards my friend and son. I sheepishly apologized to the young lifeguards while dripping wet in my clothes (did I mention that I had a two week old?)
Seventeen years later I am still in touch with four of these amazing women and we have met up several times over the years and marveled at how fast the years have passed. This past weekend we were together at a cozy house on a lake in western Massachusetts. We celebrated Mother’s Day and enjoyed sitting, talking and relaxing together. I am thankful that God led us to each other and kept our kids safe all these years.