Making friends in a post-freshman orientation world

Where I work and play, the bees are buzzing and it is time to make honey.  That is, the first year students are slowly trickling back into the utopia we call Campus and soon waves of their elder classmen will join them. Their friendships and acquaintances will be fostered by orientations and organized meet and greets, and I will feel anguish for them because of all the forced extroversion it takes to get through the first few weeks of school. Is all the ice broken yet or do we need more icebreakers? I will also feel a tinge of envy, because after this? There are few times in life when you are starting something new along with everyone else in the room, besides the teacher. IMG_9051

I think this makes it hard to make friends as an adult, sometimes. The gal behind you in yoga is the grand poobah of bikram, and you are only a sweaty novice. The colleague whose cube is diagonal from yours is so cool. But he's been there for years and is a little jaded.


A  fringe benefit of becoming a parent is that a whole new orientation begins. It is less orderly but it is needed more than any other time. Excepting maybe orientation for the Peace Corps. When your life's geography suddenly shifts from the coordinates of places you had once spent time, e.g. uninterrupted moments in the dressing room at Banana Republic, to slightly less enchanting places called Tot Lot and Little Gym and the playland at McDonald's, you need people who will be miserable good company there with you. Parenting young children can be so lonely, and there on the island where the language spoken is in signs and phrases repeated over and over and over, a person can start to go crazy and forget his or her first language, the language of grown-up conversation.


I am forever blessed by the parents in our neighborhood that I first met when we lived in Boston. They are the dearest of friends, the besthearted of people, and the most generous of spirit that I will likely encounter this side of Heaven.


We got to visit our friends Acey and Sonya and their three beauts this past weekend in Savannah (with a pit stop to see Euni and Jeff in ATL - holla!!), because we don't get to Savannah nearly enough, three times in four months is just totally NOT enough times in Eastern Georgia for one famiLee!

Our children are older and speak a less fractured language and together they played long hours in the hot sun. But we, their parents, are still speaking a language of camaraderie, freely associated song lyrics from our childhoods, and the kind of laughter that makes one's face hurt.


When we are younger, the moment of recognition that someone is a friend is usually born of a clear commonality. Oh, you, too, like "My So-Called Life" as much as I do? Let us wax poetic about how well we like it and do it as much as possible. Friendship.


On the island of parenting small children, I have found that the moment of recognition that we are indeed friends who can be relied upon and trusted with confidences and dreams is when we get to share in something like this and we are enriched by it and can't wait for it to happen again: Mama, can we paint our vaginas? Yes, that happened in the space of this past weekend and it will forever be etched on my heart, the heart of a parent of young children who was made not so alone by the best of friends.