So today I met up with some old friends I used to work with a decade ago. My friend John and his wife Caroline have two boys age 4 and 6 and invited me to bring along JJ and EJ. Our mutual friend Louise came along too. We sat in their back garden with tea and biccies and had a great chat about old times, new times, mutual friends and acquaintances and although it wasn’t the same as going down the pub the way we would have done in the past pre-kids, that didn’t seem to matter.
In fact it occurred to me that, apart from one occasion when JJ was about 6 weeks old, and once when he was two and we stayed the weekend with my childfree friend Laura and her husband, this was actually the first time I have got together with old (pre-kid) friends with the kids in tow and I really liked it! It was pretty cool for JJ to have other kids a similar age to run around with (even though he was shy when we first arrived he soon got into the swing of it!) and EJ is just happy to dot about in the background, practicing his future white van man driving skills by reversing a Little Tykes car into a large hedge.
It seems that I have fallen straight into the trap of losing touch with old friends because of the kids, although to be fair these early years of their lives (before the age of 4, I’m thinking) it is difficult to get your head round social meet ups (knowing that you would probably have to have some sort of court stenographer along to keep reminding you of the first half of the sentence you were just so rudely interrupted from) and you do fear to stray too far from home and from the people who have been with you on the same parenting ride from the beginning.
But there is a whole world out there of re-connections. And maybe some of the re-connections will be with childfree friends who, when you think about it, you would love your kids to get to know – because it seems weird that people who are special to me and who I’ve shared amazing and intimate times with in my life are complete strangers to them.