You know how some days your mind wanders back to what use to be? Some days I find myself, as I know Chris Ann often does, thinking back to the days we were in the same neighborhood, in the same city. We sometimes wonder how our friendship became so strong and precious. We have traveled the world together, to places like Italy and Mexico. We have shared gourmet meals and attended inspiring events together. But, I think our friendship became what it is today because we have stood in life’s mud puddles together.
You see, when we lived in the same hood in Baltimore, we each had four kids under the age of 9. Those were the sleep deprived days of two young moms who were trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. We were in that stage of “mom fog” where, in all honesty, some days were just a blur and all about survival. We were learning how to discipline, how to get our kids to eat healthy, what we would let them watch or not watch, how to navigate play dates…you name it. We shared tips with one another as well as failures. There were weeks we called “batten down the hatches” weeks…(actually, I think we called them army-drill camp week, yikes!) where that was code for, “I’m going off the grid to draw firm boundaries so I can reign in the behavior that has gotten off track.” We knew what that meant.
There were days we’d pass each other in the morning in our respective Windstar mini vans…her’s was periwinkle blue, mine was silver…and wave to each other knowing full well we were both enjoying the silence of sleeping babies in the car. It was a our coffee drive time.
I remember after we had attended a John Rosemond parenting conference, lights went off for both of us. We discovered natural consequences and creative parenting. Since creative is our middle names, we incorporated this quickly and couldn’t wait to share what we had discovered. We discovered a new way of discipline that would keep our kids on their toes and us from losing our minds.
There was also the time when my husband had been unemployed for 5 months. We couldn’t pay our mortgage let alone buy groceries. Chris Ann was solo-parenting while her husband traveled for his job. Chris Ann would come over in the afternoon with a bag of food, under the guise of, “Todd’s out of town. Would you make me and my kids dinner? I’m too overwhelmed.” Maybe it wasn’t a front. She was feeding our family, just as we were feeding hers. Neither of us could fix the situation the other was in, but we could get in the mud puddle together.
We became mud puddle friends. We would change each other’s kid’s diapers, wash each other’s dishes, babysit with a last minute phone call, rip up carpet on whim and listen with open ears when the other had nothing left to do but cry. We stood in that mud puddle and were willing to get dirty for the sake of the other.
Long gone are the day-to-day mud puddle moments. Now that we live in different cities, I look back and miss those days. I’m not even sure we appreciated them for what they were. But, we do now. We invested hard core, for years. Now, we treasure the moments we do get together. They may seem a bit luxurious and like vacation whenever we are together, but I think our friendship has earned these moments.
(We’re in this journey for the long haul.)
Do you have a mud puddle friend? We’d love to hear your story.