Level Up

I first saw her at one of our library’s baby storytimes. I don’t know what it was about her, but I could tell from just looking at her that we could be friends. Somehow after class we started chatting and I thought, “Yeah, I like this one. I think we’re the same person!” Of course, admitting as much to her would kill any budding romance, so I just casually said, “See you next week.” Each week at storytime I tried to sit next to her and her daughter. We’d giggle at our baby’s antics and make little comments about what they were up to outside class. Eventually we exchanged numbers. We texted occasionally, but I think both of us were afraid of scaring the other away, so we still held each other at arm’s length. Finally one of us got brave and we decided to meet up outside of storytime to see Santa together at some store. Milestone! Her husband came along too, so I got to met him. Double milestone!

Since then we’ve been on a couple dates outside the walls of the library, mostly meeting up at the park. Last week we set a tentative park play date for an upcoming afternoon. But, that day it rained cats and dogs. We lamented the weather over text and promised we’d try again for next week. I was bummed but started trying to figure out what my son and I would do to while away the afternoon. Then I got an unexpected text: “Want to come over to our house to play?” Whoa. Level up. Meeting at her house makes it real. It solidifies the deal. Its like when Carrie asked Mr. Big, “You wanna come up?” Such a simple phrase with so much implied. What if we go and her house smells like 20 cats? What if her daughter has no toys and the kids just amble about randomly getting into trouble? What if my son breaks something? What if my son is mean to her daughter? What if we find out while forced to sit and talk together that we have nothing in common? We reached a new milestone, one that would make or break us.

But, my friend already knew I had nothing else planned, so I accepted. The whole drive there I’m inwardly freaking out, and outwardly reassuring my son with phrases like “This will be fun! We’re going to see your friend!” in an effort to calm myself. We arrive and knock on the door. That small moment before she opens it is the worst. There is no going back.

She welcomes us with a big smile and there is her daughter standing next to the toy bin. They both look adorable. Her house does not smell like 20 cats, or anything else off-putting. I take off my shoes and notice my friend and I both wore the same pink flip flops. Maybe we are the same person! She offers me tea (I LOVE tea!) and even has some chips and salsa out (ohmygosh, my favorite snack in the world om nom nom). Our kids play together splendidly. My friend and I talk, getting to know each other as women beyond just so-and-so’s mom. After what feels like 5 minutes I glance at the clock and realize 90 minutes have gone by, and that I’ve eaten all her chips. All of them. And, I don’t even feel bad because we’re super comfortable around each other. Later I use her bathroom and notice she has the same hair gel I do. We ARE the same person!

I left the playdate with a big grin on my face and couldn’t wait for my hubby to get home so I could tell him everything. While I gushed to him he gave me the half-smile of amusement. “Glad you found a friend, honey,” I think is what he said. Making real, true friends based on a commonality other than your kids is hard. My library friend and I leveled up. We’re officially in a relationship!

Rest in peace, Hira. Hira, I am going to miss you terribly. I mourn for you, the baby girl you left behind, and selfishly, for what our friendship could have been.

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