The longer I am a mother the more aware I am of my friends and their parenting styles. I am fascinated, in fact. I have a group of friends with only one baby (Angela, Nicole, Jen, Melissa, Stephanie,). Then there is Julie, she has twins with all of its own adventure and drama. I am drawn to listen to families with three (Pilar and Tammy) and pick up on any advice or tips. I also still have a soft spot for huge families. I look back at my own mom and what she chose to emphasize or value as she raised my sister and I. At fourteen months apart the pair of us were compared and held to different standards at times.
These thoughts are swirling through my mind after spending an afternoon with my dear friend Jen from Minneapolis. My roommate in France. A former vegan and fellow So. Cal. girl who traveled north for the sights and sounds of the city during college. She is a mom of a sweet boy named Alton.
I heard a little of her thinking about constructive and specific praise for her son (tons to consider). I watched her ask questions and move at a different pace than I do with my own kids (Joe even carries a whistle he likes to blow). I listened to her describe her boy’s interests in elevators and the library. I tried to imagine their train trips to the Mall of America.
I caught myself feeling jealous of all her free time and then feeling incredibly sad about returning to work next week. I found myself saying good-bye too suddenly at the Farmer’s Market and wishing I had asked more questions or that we somehow lived closer. In an instant I snapped into being so thankful they stayed as long as they did (park, lunch, nap, Nature Center, and Farmer’s Market). The entire range of emotions one can feel in a friendship that has spanned many years and cities and phases. I am thrilled she still makes time to squeeze me in when she heads west to see family. Makes me feel like family.I look forward to the next stage of our friendship and parenting. We are two very different and yet very similar ladies. Jen is hilarious, likes poetry, confessed to reading the Hobbit, convinced me to purchase yogurt today, and can relate to all the anxiety over my appointment tomorrow. We are like those color mixings where she is yellow and I am blue but together we make green.