I'd like to think that I have improved as a person with time. Getting older, learning life lessons and understanding a little bit more about the passing of time have all contributed to this personal growth. I'd say that my strides toward becoming a better person took an exponential skyrocket when I became a parent.
I think back on how I used to view the world and the way I used to act pre-kids, and I wonder at how much my views have changed on account of these little people running circles around me. I'm sure it is possible that my childless friends have had some of the same epiphanies for different reasons, but for me, everything changed in my corner of the universe the day that I read a plus sign on a drug-store test.
I'm still "me," just a new and improved version. I may not look as good as I did 10 years ago, but I have more goodness in my life. And that's worth its weight.
One of the many joys of being a parent, and one in this technology-driven society, is reconnecting with old friends that are also parents now too. I enjoy getting back in touch with ALL friends, even those that are not at the kid stage or don't plan to ever be there, but the renewed relationships I've forged with other parents -- especially ones from my past -- are certainly the strongest.
I've re-met some of these friends through this blog. I sort of knew Rachael as a middle schooler and high schooler and ran into her a few times during my college years when she attended my parents' church. She was the faith editor at my hometown newspaper during the years that I was sneaking into bars with a fake I.D. There was quite a distance between our lives back then, but as parents we have more in common than ever.
The same is true of my college pal and MM blogger Lori. I won't reveal any of her Ball State secrets, but let's just say she was my friend and roommate during those fake I.D. days that I mention above. We had some great times in our first years as young adults and there was a reason we were friends. Facebook wasn't really a thing when we graduated (her before me), and we sort of lost touch after we left Muncie. We met up here and there when we both lived in Indianapolis, but once I left the state for Florida, I didn't hear much from her (or she from me).
We found each other on Facebook a few years ago and chatted off and on over that time. I already had my oldest, Emilia. I got to see the pregnancy and newborn pictures of her oldest, Max, through the Facebook lens. When she revealed (on Facebook) last November that she was expecting her second baby in May, my jaw dropped. Her due date was just two weeks before my due date with my second.
Our occasional interaction transformed into constant chatter about our pregnancies and due dates. It turned out that my daughter was born about two weeks early and our little girls are only two days apart. Not only are they close in age, but they are similar in personalities. Both girls like to eat... a lot. Both refuse bottles. Both prefer being held over any and all mommy substitutes. Sometimes the days are long with these high-needs gals, but having a fellow mom to share the everyday excitement (and struggles) with has been such a bright spot in these early months of my daughter's life.
On a few bizarre occasions, our girls have had blow-out diapers within hours of each other (so we try to warn the other if ours is first). Maybe it isn't as glamorous as straightening our hair and squeezing into a glittery tube top (cringe) on a Friday night to head out to a frat party -- but "hanging out" with Lori has never been more fun than now, as parents.
A few of our other friends from college have also had kids in the past year, and everyone from our close group of gal pals is a parent to at least one. I "like" the life out of each and every picture or status update these (and other) friends post about their kids. It makes me smile when I see the newest family pictures of a college pal and her husband and their THREE kids -- especially since they started dating on a spring break trip we all took to Key West as college juniors. Are these the same people I used to stay up 'til all hours playing drinking games with on Dill Street?
I found I had even more in common with my bestie Veronica back in Indiana when I started life with my stepson, the same age as her daughter. We had a discussion on all-day Kindergarten back in July that made me change my own thinking on the matter. A friend that I made fake cat food commercials with as a ten-year-old before she moved to Texas is now a proud mom of three, the fourth due within the month. We like to remind each other how dorky the other used to be... and maybe still is.
My sister-in-law Maura and I have been close pals since my then-friend (later husband) fixed us up on a dinner date in Chicago. She loves hearing about her nieces and nephew, and I can't wait to hear about my own new nephew in a few short months. Inevitably, she will change in some ways as a parent and I look forward to watching it from afar (and hearing about it through text messages).
Childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, colleagues, family, neighbors -- I've enjoyed meeting them all again as parents. I assume the people and parents that we are today look much different than the ones in another decade and beyond, and I look forward to getting to know those friends too.
I may not be the same girl that I was pre-kids, but hopefully I'm still someone worth meeting. Again.
You can contact Katie by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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