Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Will you play with me?"

I envy kids. I envy thier ability to go up to a complete stranger (child) and say "will you play with me".

I love that Bailey and I will go to a park or something and within a very short time frame she is able to come back to me and tell me all about a new friend that she has. I love that at 4 she can't distinguish between meaningful connections and just finding someone to play with in that moment. We lose that ability as we get older, but then again, as we get older we also need those meaningful connections. Or do we? Maybe finding someone to play with that moment is all we need?

I'm feeling a little bit lost at the moment, and I think it might be from a lack of meaningful connections in my life. Or more to the point, lack of a "tribe". I don't have the friends that I greup with here. I don't have a group of friends that I go out to dinner with or catch up for a coffee with. We as a couple don't hav ea group of friends with that we catch up with for meals or whatever. I'm feeling a little lonely.

After moving away from Melbourne 8 years ago, I found it hard to make new friends here. Well, when you're in a strange city and don't know anyone other than your husband and 6 month old, it can be pretty hard. I was told by other people who had made such a move that it would get easier as my kids got older and went to school then I would meet people through them.

So I waited for preschool. I managed to make a couple of really good friends through her preschool. One probably more significant than the others (call her "S"), but I had friends. I had girls to go out to dinner with and catch up for coffee. Then when the kids started school, we all went to different schools, and it got too hard for some reason. Kids go to school = parents going back to work = no time for coffees. :) 
The one more signifcant friend got a new neighbour who they all got along with as a family, and they started spending more time with them than us. Why not? It's easy. They live next door. "S" and I are still friends, but we certainly see a lot less of each other than we used to. In fact, we had planned a night out, it was in the calendar for months, and got cancelled becasue they went away with their neighbours for the weekend. Most of me is okay with that, we went away with them ourselves a few weeks later, but a part of me was absolutely GUTTED!

Then there are the mums I met through dance. I have never been really buddy-buddy with any of them to the point that we'd go out for a drink, but close enough to share some details of each other's lives, and perhaps catch up for a BBQ. Well one had a falling out with our dance teacher, moved dance schools and we have barely spoken since, and the other seems to "ignore" my requests to catch up. By that I mean that whenever I mention that we should catch up, I never hear back, or they are always busy.

There is one girl who I met (ahem) online not very long after moving here. It was on one of those parenting forums, and they were having a local meet up at a playcentre. I thought I'd go along and maybe find a friend, and I did!!! We don't live near each other any more, and trying to get together has been hard. I find that when we do make plans to catch up she cancels about 90% of the time, or I get messages from her saying "I miss you, we have to catch up", and when I try to arrange a catch up, my messages get ignored. To the point that a couple of weekends ago we had organised for her family to come over here for a meal and her daughter sleep over, and for the week leading in, every attempt I made to contact her about it was ignored, and they never turned up. I know life gets busy, but that just hurts.

And now there are the school mums. There are some really great mums there, and one in particular I had a lovely friendship going with. We were spending a lot of time together there for a while. And there are other mums there who I really like, and would love to spend more time with. They all spend time together, as 'the girls' and as families. There are a couple of groups who either know each other through preschool, their kids play soccer together, or have just formed a bit of a group. They seem to have that 'tribe', but for some reason I'm kind of flitting around the exterior, and I don't think at 39 years old I'm able to just do as Bailey does and just say "will you play with me".

They have formed meaningful connections. Some of them as families. And to be honest, truly honest, I am happy for them that they have managed that. I'm not sitting here thinking "poor me", I'm just thinking if there's something I can do to find my own tribe. A group who invites you along for a coffee when the kids are at school, or for a drink after the husband is home and the kids are in bed.

But even short of the tribe, I think that right now, I just want someone who will play with me.


Anonymous said...

Oh honey, kids do have it alot easier don't they! I think there are two types of friends, the ones who always organise the catch up's, always text etc (which seems to be you and me for that matter) and the ones that just accept/decline them (and probably dont even realise they are hurting someones feelings).

I hope you find a great friend soon (and if it makes you feel a little better, you're not alone today xx)

Shonie said...

I know how you feel. I too moved from where my family and friends are and I miss them a ton! I never had a hard time making friends until I moved to where I am now. It's been 3 years and because I don't have kids (I do love them tho!) I am never included. There's a huge group of women that I have a lot in common with that I am not friends with just because I don't have children. It's hard when you're a social person to be left out. It has taught me to try to include those on the fringes due to some perceived differentness. I hope you find a good real friend soon. But please know that you aren't alone.