Monday, October 15, 2007

Playdates

"Mom, can you help me write something" L said as he carried a blue crayon and a post it into my office.

"sure, what is it that you want to write" I asked.

"Playdate for L" he replied very seriously

I took his small hand in mine and wrote the letters slowly so he understood how each were meant to be written stopping briefly to steal some kisses.

"there, all done" I said
"what did you want to write that for?"

"I want to put it outside so everyone can see it and have a playdate with me"


My heart went into my stomach as I blinked back the tears. "great idea" I said.
He skipped out of the room to show his sister and I started to cry.
Hard.

E and I made a life here, without our family & friends because we had no choice. I joined the local gymboree, the kid's gym, took them to the park, brought them to preschool, all the things good mothers do. The kids made friends, I made acquaintances.

I have no idea how they heard the term "playdate" but I know they want friends to come over, to have someone other then themselves and me to play with. To finally be the one to show off their toys instead of always playing at other people's homes. It made me feel like a failure. I felt like a terrible mother.
I felt like shit.

I know my kids are smart and healthy and will continue to thrive even if they never had a playdate. I know setting up dates to play is a contrived, new idea in motherhood, one that I am not even completely comfortable with.
Still, at the heart of it my son wanted something that I did not provide for him. He wants to put a note on our house so other kids can come and play with him.
Just writing about it makes me want to start crying again. My sweet son.
I want to give him that.
I want to give him everything.

7 comments:

  1. My son would "write letters" and invitations (still does, I guess) to invite his friends over and then hands them to me to mail. Ever since we moved into the country, the availability of someone his age has been effectively cut to zero. He can't look outside anymore and see the neighbor kids are out. It hurts me deeply to see him so lonely. As much as watching him go to school breaks me a little, too, because it means he's growing up, at least I know he finally gets some interaction with children his age.

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  2. dd, everyone tells me it will be easier when the kids start school. For them to make friends that keep and for me to make friends.
    I hope so!

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  3. Kids have a way of bringing each of their parents together as friends as well.

    I've gained lots of friends just by meeting my kid's friend's parents.

    Did that make sense?

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  4. Oh girl. You got me with that one. I haven't gotten there with my little one yet... Hang it there though. You are being way too hard on yourself!

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  5. Jesus Christ, Tuesday!

    That made me well up, as well.

    I live in a section of town where there are hardly any children that my kids can play with. Mine just lit up and really came into their own when they started school and got to have relationships with kids their own age.

    But one thing still remains difficult. We don't live in the same neighborhood as the vast majority of the other kids at school. And for that reason, they are still somewhat the outsiders. They only seem to get the interaction with the kids AT school or some school related thing such as soccer or basketball or whatever. Rare is the afterschool or weekend playdate. Summer playdates are almost non-existent unless we are the ones that take the step to call someone.

    Keep your chin up, girl. You're doing allright.

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  6. We're really lucky that we have a bunch of little kids all around us, otherwise we'd be in the same boat.

    Don't beat yourself up.

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  7. We haven't done playdates either. I don't even know the moms in my kids' daycare classes. Everyone just zips in and out. Part of the problem is that we started there only six months ago, whereas most of the kids have been there since infancy. Very tough crowd. Ugh.

    Anyway, I know the feeling you're describing. My daughter has asked to have people over, but I'm too intimidated to approach the parents. Sad, I know.

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