Thursday, June 19, 2014

Every mama needs a playgroup

Ugh! I'm so. damn. nostalgic today! Although I have posted about playgroups before, I want to record a few of my memories here so that I can remind myself of this special time in the twyns' lives.

Last night we had a lovely cocktail party to bid one of our fellow mommies farewell as she and her beautiful family head to a new city.

As is customary, one of our fearless 'leaders' capped off the night with a video montage of photos and video messages to the kids and mama of the family.

And we all sobbed.

And I say 'customary' because, we have had a few changes and moves over the years and there is always some type of send-off; and I say 'leaders' because this group has had its ebbs and flows and there are have been several members who have always kept momentum and structure to help the rest of us cope with the unending drama of motherhood, births of new babies, career changes, and the like.

I can't even begin to describe the importance of this group - and I didn't even get a chance to live as close as they all did and share subsequent births of subsequent children, the preschool days, etc. But if you could ever experience being a part of a group like this - just once in your life - well - then you know what true friendship feels like.

And I was lucky enough to have my own playgroup of twin mommies for a good while. But in this group, for a short while, I was unique as a twin mommy. And it made me feel special in more ways than one. I don't think I got to finish a conversation in that first year, but the bits I heard included such things as "I don't know how you do it" and "well, you have twins..."

And now you think I'm crazy and this sounds like a movie or a sorority - but it is. There are no less than... 16? ladies? and now more than (I'm saying more than because I'm sure I'm missing one or two) 38 children.

This is why, when we had a house party for the twyns' second birthday and I invited both my twin playgroup and this, my 'singleton' playgroup, we had 75 people! I, for once, did not make enough food.

The twyns' second birthday party
And now it just so happens that our friend is leaving as most of the older kids are finishing preschool and heading off to kindergarten. So it truly is a capstone moment, one that got my river of tears a' flowin'.

The playgroup formed when most of them met at a prenatal yoga class. Last night one of the mommies said, "I remember seeing one or two people not at class and thinking, 'Oh! They're having their babies!'"Many of them had just relocated to Philly, so it was a great environment for making new friends.

I met them all about six months later, when many of them took a music class together. This was my first structured venture outside the house, and after a few classes they were gracious enough to invite me into the group. Only a select few have been invited since those baby days...I am so incredibly grateful I was! I remember the exact moment like it was yesterday, and it was a full five years ago:
Having struggled through another music class chasing after my two wayward crawling babies, mixed with fear and gratitude as the teacher graciously held either the spit-uppy one or the whiny one with the head too heavy for his shoulders so that we could actually hear her and get something out of the class and hopefully be on our way to music prodigy-ness, I evaded the faces of my fellow mommies, embarrassed as I was in the chaos with which I had just invaded their sweet little peaceful and perfect worlds, and loaded the twins into the double snap n'go, navigated it around the hallways to the elevator, squeezed it into said elevator only to wait ten minutes while it slowly made its way down ONE floor that I could have skipped down in the span of 5 seconds before having children, all the while trying not to let-down in the midst of crying twins, exited the elevator in a wave of crying-ness, kicked one side of the double doors of this quiet church open to give my monstrosity of a stroller a head start in barreling through it and headed back to the car, my head hanging low, my success as a mom feeling far far away in a land no one knows about, and my activity 'done' for the week. 
I loaded one child in, leaving the other behind me in the stroller with my foot twisted backwards and placed strategically behind its back wheel so that it wouldn't roll in the parking lot. I then kissed baby boy, as I always and still do, upon load-in, because I had heard from another twin mommy to take the moments alone with each as much as you can and this was and still is my 'alone' moment some days, and headed to the other side of the car. Loaded in baby girl, and proceeded to head to the back of the car to load in the stroller. I closed the door on her side and before opening the back of the car, enjoyed the silence for a split second. Tried not to cry, tried not to let down as I had a twenty minute car ride ahead of us before getting to a place where I could nurse, and get back to business. As I was opening the back of the car to load in the stroller, my friend yells down the parking lot, "What are you doing on Friday? Would you like to come over?" Or something to that effect. I honestly can't tell you what she said other than to INVITE ME OVER. And I said something to the effect of yes and called my husband on the drive home and held back tears [again, jeez, I was an emotional wreck that first year], as I told him I HAVE. A MOMMY DATE!!! 
That first playdate - their Christmas PJ party - included a reunion with a pregnant mommy I had a chance encounter with the previous week at the mall Santa display. She had approached me because she was pregnant with twins, and I was, clearly, surrounded by them. We chatted, but didn't exchange contact info in those few minutes we shared. But lo and behold, there we were! It was one of those moments where you realize life takes care of you. Philadelphia is not *that* small of a town, and we are still dumbfounded to this day at our lucky reunion.
Our boys in that first year
Our boys a few years later
We reminisced about that, and so many other things last night... about themed playdates [log cabin? I missed that one], my crazy awkward rotting back deck, the 'littles' playgroup that grew when the mommies were having their second pregnancies and the older kids had started preschool, and we laughed about the many group shots we've tried to choreograph [someone is always crying - someone always has a sippy cup attached to their mouths...]

 Valentine's Day playdate 2010
Christmas Chaos with all the kiddos 2013
It is such a unique time in one's life - becoming a new parent - and sharing that experience - the absolute happiest moments mixed with the most deeply frustrating and emotional - is the most special thing ever.

 I highly recommend it. 

[And forgive me friends, for not getting these photos onto the montage, I didn't want to get into this ugly cry by digging them up and now look what you made me do!!! where are those tissues...]


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