Friends Near, Friends Far


Welcome to the August 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Friends

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about friends.

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Making and keeping friends has been one of the hardest challenges of my adult life.  I love people.  I love to just hang out, spend a few hours chatting, knitting, watching the kids goof off, play games.  Yet, as an adult, it can be hard to find a group of friends if you aren’t in an area you grew up in – which I am not.

 

When we moved to Kansas City, just before Sofiya was born, I knew only a few people.  I made a few friends here and there.  Then, when Sofi was about 7 months old, I started attending regular La Leche League meetings and I met my tribe.  Some of the moms from the group really clicked with me, and several also belonged to a larger parenting group which I was quickly invited to.  That group became my village in a time that I truly needed one.  In the years that I lived in Kansas City, this group of attachment parents was a source of joy, comfort, education, and resources.  They donated breastmilk to Walter when he was unable to nurse as a newborn.  Together we did co-op orders, playgroups, homeschool classes, and mom’s night out.  My kids and I formed some very close bonds with several of the people in this group.

And then, we moved to Ohio…

Ohio has been good for us on a lot of levels.  I get to be back with my family, which means more to me than I can adequately express.  My husband went from inside sales (talking on a phone all day, which he really doesn’t enjoy) to outside sales (walking in doors and talking to people face to face) which he really enjoys.  We are in a small town, which we have really enjoyed, and we feel like we are a part of a greater community because of that, as well.  We are much closer to the agricultural roots that we feel so strongly about, and are sourcing a large quantity of our food locally these days.  There are many things that we are grateful for here in Ohio.  But moving meant leaving behind all of those great friends that we had in Kansas City.

We’ve worked hard at building up friendships in Ohio like the ones we had in KC, but we aren’t quite there yet.  I know that one day, we will again have regular play dates, mom’s night out, and co-op orders.  I know that one day we will have friends close enough that I know I could tearfully ask if they would donate breastmilk for a baby who can’t seem to get latched for some reason.  I know that I am hard at work building those connections again.

In the meantime, we go back to Kansas City every year to visit old friends.  While we are there, we usually hop in on a Frontier order, plan a big play group day, and try to make a homeschool class (or 3).  It’s a lot of fun to hook back up with those old connections in our old stomping ground.

Our best friends have also made a huge effort to make it out to see us.  A few friends have come once or twice to Ohio.  We keep the camper stocked, plugged in and ready for company.  Anyone is welcome to come spend a few days or more in it.  It’s a great arrangement because it gives us all our own space to breathe, gives the kids a break from each other when tensions are high, and lets everyone have a place to retreat for some calm time before bed.

One of my best friends, who was there for Elliott’s birth in Kansas City, upon finding out that I was pregnant with William in Ohio responded with, “Congratulations!  I can come out for a week when you are due.  Let me know what timing you think would be best.”  She should have left on Thursday to be back home on plan, but decided to stay one more night and got to be there for William’s birth.  It was so special to have her there for both of my babies, even though they were born 600 miles apart!

My kids and I are looking forward to a camping trip at the end of the month with this same friend and another close friend.  Some of the kids’ friends will be in this group as well.

It really is special, watching my kids navigate the waters of making new friends in a new community without all of the homeschool cooperation and collective that we are used to, while they retain their relationships with their friends from Kansas City as well.  Walter still counts Kieran as his best friend, though they only see each other a few weeks a year.  When we are getting close to time to see him, Walter has such grand plans for all of the things they are going to do.  He always boasts that he will be getting up “early, early, early” so that he and Kieran can just “play, play, play!”

I’m really looking forward to the day that my kids and I have friendships in Ohio that are as strong as our friendships in Kansas City, but I also love how my children have learned that you don’t have to see someone regularly to love them, think of them, and have a strong friendship with them.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Sibling Revelry — At Natural Parents Network, Amy W. shares her joy in witnessing the growth of the friendship between her two young children.
  • Making New Mama Friends — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses on how she was able to connect with like-minded mamas and form deep friendships both in ‘real life’ and online. Learn how these life-long friendships, both between Jennifer and other mothers but also between Jennifer’s daughter and the other children, formed and flourished.
  • Family, Friends and Family Friends — Vidya Sury at Vidya Sury, Going A-Musing, Collecting Smiles is reflecting on family friendships, past and present.
  • Arranging friendships in a modern world — From a free-range childhood to current parenthood, how can an introvert like Lauren at Hobo Mama navigate the newly complicated scheduling of playdates and mom friends?
  • Mommy Blogs: Where Moms Make Friends — Mothers make friends with other mothers in new ways. The options from earlier decades remain, but new avenues have sprung up with mommy bloggers. Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence shares her thoughts.
  • Friendship and Sacrifice: Guardians of the Galaxy — Shay at 4HisGlor y learned that friendship lessons can be found in unlikely places, like blockbuster summer movies.
  • Friendship – Finding, Forming, Keeping, and WishingLife Breath Present‘s thoughts on finding, forming, keeping, and wishing for friendships as an introvert.
  • Consciously Creating My Community: Monthly Dinners — How have you intentionally created community? Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s goal for the year is to cultivate community. One way she’s done that is to help organize two different monthly dinners with friends.
  • Adults need imaginary friends, too — Tat at Mum in Search shares why it’s a good idea for adults to have imaginary friends. You get to meet Tat’s friend and download a playbook to create your own.
  • Friends Near, Friends Far — Kellie at Our Mindful Life helps her kids keep in touch with friends 600 miles apart.
  • Which comes first, social skills or social life? — Jorje of Momma Jorje frets about whether her daughter can learn social skills without experience, but how to get good experience without social skills.
  • Snail Mail Revival — Skype isn’t the only way to stay in touch with long distance friends, That Mama Gretchen and her family are breaking out the envelopes and stamps these days!
  • Montessori-Inspired Friendship Activities — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares a roundup of Montessori-inspired friendship activities for home or classroom.
  • How I used the internet to make local friends — After years of striking out at the park, Crunchy Con Mom finally found some great local friends . . . online!
  • My How Friends Change — Erica at ChildOrganics knows entirely too much about how to comfort a friend after a loss.

4 comments to Friends Near, Friends Far

  • It sure sounds like you have a truly incredible group of friends from Kansas City. I hope to one day have those friends in the place we live, wherever that may be. Your story is very inspiring and I felt so joyful for your family while reading it. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • It kills me that you moved! But you’re right – I love that the kids are able to maintain friendships over the distance. Now we just need to be more faithful about Skyping :)

  • That’s lovely! I grew up an Army kid, and I was happy to keep friendships alive for years and years after moving apart — it really is possible. Hope you find your close community in Ohio soon!

  • Tat

    It seems much harder making friends as an adult. My best friends are still where I grew up (which unfortunately happens to be on the other end of the world). We don’t keep in touch very regularly, but when we see each other it’s like we’ve never been apart. It’s so great that your kids seem to be building the same kind of friendships.

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