I was seven months pregnant with 4yo when we moved to this area, and only had one friend who lived closeby. Hubby and I started NCT classes shortly after the move, thinking it might be a way of making new friends who were all in the same boat as us. It worked out great and the five other families quickly became a huge part of our lives. Our children were all born within four weeks of each other, and to this day have a very special bond.
Two of us had baby #2 within the same fortnight, and one of them is now a few weeks behind my third pregnancy with her second. In the early days the mums and babes would all meet every week, then as people started going back to work we decided on fortnightly meets. Over the last year it’s often only ended up being two or three of us, and the meets have been a tad thin on the ground since the kids started school in September. Last Wednesday was a date we’d had in the diary for weeks – being half term it seemed a shame for those of us not at work to not make the effort. Three of us were going to another’s house for lunch and a playdate, and we were all really looking forward to seeing each other.
Hubby and I don’t drive – we’ve toyed with the idea a few times and always come up with the same conclusions. Neither of us want to, we Iive just outside London and both work in the city, so don’t need to. And right now we couldn’t afford a car or the running costs even if we did. Usually not driving doesn’t stand in my way of doing things – we have fantastic public transport in our area, and appropriate outdoor clothing if the weather is bad. Sleep deprivation and pregnancy can alter your opinion of such things though, and Tuesday night was bad, even for our standards.
I just couldn’t face the thought of the travelling (2 buses and 10 min walk each way), the potential meltdowns, and what the end of the day would bring. I texted the host and explained that we weren’t going to make it and why, and she replied saying that she was sorry to hear that and would miss us. Then about 5 mins later she texted back offering to come over and pick up the kids to give me a break. Then another one of the group texted to say that she would come and collect us and take us home, even though her and the host live only a 10 min walk away. I was touched, and rather emotional if I’m honest. So that’s what we did, and we all had a lovely day. Then once we got home I had a text from the host saying that we had left 21mo’s comfort blanket (bubba) at her house, and half an hour later she was at my door with it.
Yesterday has made me realise how incredibly fortunate I am to have these wonderful ladies. From what I hear about how hit and miss it can be, it certainly feels like we lucked out with our little group. Over the last four and a half years we have seen each other through all sorts – death, miscarriage, twins, moving away, redundancy – often turning to each other in an hour of need. Although I wouldn’t have necessarily picked these people out of a line up, they have become genuine friends. My family and I are very blessed to have them in our lives.