It started with a carpool.
A preschool mom asked me if I would want to carpool – not with her, but with a friend of hers I had never met named Andrea. Andrea had three children and worked full time. She needed a ride home for her daughter after school, and she could drive my daughter there in the morning.
As a stay at home mom, I didn’t need to carpool. But it seemed like a good idea. I had a one year old too, and this way she could sleep in the morning. Plus I was happy to help this other mom out. What could go wrong?
It turned out everything about the carpool was wrong.
Instead of making my life easier, carpooling stressed me out. My daughter never wanted to get in Andrea’s car in the morning, which would make Andrea late for work. After a few weeks, I told Andrea to forget driving my daughter, but I would still drive her daughter home. She felt guilty but she still needed the ride. Then midway through the school year, my daughter got a bad virus. I had to totally bail on driving and Andrea was left scrambling for three weeks. She was annoyed. Somehow we made it through the rest of the school year, but I was pretty sure we would not speak again once it was over.
That was fifteen years ago. Today we are the best of friends — although we never carpooled again.
Aside from carpooling, we had a lot of other things in common. We both had three children (and four of the children are the same age). In addition to the kids, we shared other interests like spin class, movies and getting way too involved in our television shows. We once tried a joint book club together, which turned out to be another ‘carpool’ mismatch. I liked to chitchat, while she wanted people in the group to read the darn book and discuss.
We went through many stages with our children together… entering kindergarten, getting braces, b’nai mitzvahs, graduations etc. We laughed, cried and advised each other through the many ups and downs of motherhood and of life itself.
We continue to support each other. In fact, it was Andrea who had the first article I ever wrote framed for me as a keepsake and who introduced me the Georgette Gilmore, the editor at Barista Kids. And Andrea is always the first person to “recommend” something I have written on Facebook.
One of the many gifts my children have given me is the opportunity to meet and connect with other women, mothers like me, through baby classes, soccer sidelines, PTA volunteer shifts.
The support is nice, but when someone turns into a true friend like Andrea, it’s a true gift.