August 14th, 2010
I have a lot of blessings in my life, but one for which I am increasingly grateful is the amazing group of girlfriends that I have. A bunch of us met in seminary and stayed close after graduation. Then, a little over a year ago, we decided to get more intentional about spending time together and set up a monthly small group meeting. The makeup has shifted a bit, as we lost two ladies to out of state moves, but gained another.
The whole crew are women of faith — of the seven of us, five are seminary grads, one is a current student, and one is the wife of a grad — and we focus our groups loosely around some faith-based reading. Currently, we’re officially working on Good News About Injustice (which is awesome, by the way). It takes us a while to get through anything, since we tend to spend 70% of our meetings chatting together.
It’s an amazing thing to surround yourself with like-minded women who are at a similar “place” in life to yours. We’re all in our late 20s to mid 30s. Six of the seven are mothers and the seventh is nearly done with all the necessary paperwork to become a (fabulous) foster mom. We’re fairly earthy and swap cloth diapering advice and farm share recipes. It’s glorious.
Our policy on kids at the meetings is that they’re welcome but optional. For some of us, it’s a great chance to spend a night away from parenting duties. Those with smaller kiddos usually bring them along and we play pass the baby.
Today, the whole crew (plus one of my dearest friends from college who was in town visiting) gathered at our house — with husbands and kids — for a summer picnic. There were 13 adults and 8 children under 4. It was rowdy and great. Pulled pork. Fresh tomato and basil salad. Homemade bread. Blueberry bunt cake. Fruit. My oh my.
It was about a million degrees, but that didn’t stop the kids from frolicking in the back yard while we flopped in the shade. Apart from a sippy cup hurled off our back hill and a bloody nose caused by a toddler collision, the whole herd of small people did great together and it was fun to enjoy an afternoon of communal parenting. I might look over to find Miss Mouse settled in my friend Mandi’s lap, or see another friend taking a pair of children (neither hers) in for more lemonade. You can do that in a group of good friends and it takes a lot of the daily stress of parenting down several notches.