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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Let’s face it. When I write, I try to focus on the funny or the sweet…basically the stuff I want to remember when I’m old. I gloss over or avoid altogether the rough bits…the screaming, the crying, the achingly high level of frustration (and that’s just ME, people!). Turns out the Trying Threes beats the heck out of the terrible twos. This is the time when boundaries are pushed to the breaking point — along with Mommy’s last nerve. And I’ve not come out of this little life-test sporting crisp new laurel leaf or a shiny gold medal. I’m battered, bruised, beat-up and broken-down. If you’d talked to me last week, I’d have been plotting my escape or working on acquiring a drinking problem. But then the girlfriends intervened.

On Tuesday, I participated in my very first Girl’s Night Out with the church ladies. I’ve never been a church lady before — frankly, because my idea of funny can sometimes skate a little close to other people’s idea of offensive. Go figure. But I seem to have found a really inclusive (read: tolerant and forgiving) congregation and decided to be brave and risk throwing myself in the midst of an unfamiliar group of women. It was great. Turns out more than a few of them have taught at a pre-K or elementary, level and one was able to recommend a really great series of books designed for educators that would help me anticipate the obstacles most common with each developmental phase as well as appreciate the great new milestones that occur simultaneously. Score! I left thinking I might be able to be a good mom to these kids after all.

The entire next day I felt just a little bit lighter and was able to maintain calm through several potentially nerve-jangling, everyday moments. But the icing on the cake came last night with the monthly meeting of the Bunco Babes. If you followed us at all over at, you know the Bunco Babes have been the rock I lean on for well over a decade now (although we’re all still really, REALLY young). For some unknown reason, these incredibly fantastic girls hunted me down and refused to let me get in the way of them becoming my best friends for life. I absolutely love that in a person. I still remember Kim picking me up for the first Bunco meeting — she’s one of those special personalities where fifteen minutes after getting to know her you’re willing to take a bullet for her. Then once you REALLY get to know her, the realization dawns that there’s a chance it will be necessary at some point.

I love that we called B and urge her to get her @$$ down from the frozen climes of the north (o.k. New Hampshire, but still). And that we all agreed to pretend Jennifer had just gotten her dates mixed up instead of moving all the way to Texas (which makes no difference, and don’t even think that lets you out of our motley little crew). I love that Kathe is keeping me from making any mis-steps as Jack enters kindergarten. And Lisa’s willing drive WAY out of her way to work out with me so I can lose weight — even though she’ll have to dial her own workout down to geriatric level for me to keep up. And I especially love that everyone managed to fein disappointment (sort of) that Karla forgot the dice, so we had to make do with eating, drinking and laughing instead of actually playing bunco. We caught up on what’s going on with everyone’s kids. I managed to hold little Gray for a minute or two even though we KNOW Ann’s such a baby hog. And we planned all the fun things we’re going to do together once our kids are grown and we’re ourselves again.

I left this group feeling like Jodi instead of mom — you know, that Jodi that existed before kids. The selfish one who daydreamed of traveling and writing and writing and traveling — with excellent food and wine thrown in between. Heaven.

The result? I’ve been a good mom today. There’ve been no moments where I’ve wished to be somewhere else. I haven’t yelled when I could have spoken nicely. I’ve been patient when I might have lost it completely. In short, I’ve been the me I would prefer to be all the time.

Everyone says they’re just sure I’ve got a parenting book in me waiting to come out. Truth is, I don’t have a clue. I’m making it up as I go along. What I will tell you…the one thing that won’t fail you whether you have kids or not…Don’t. Lose. Your friends. They’ll buoy you up, steer you around obstacles they’ve already crashed into and help you remember who you wanted to be when you grew up. They’re irreplaceable.

Incidentally, a good man is hard to find. Fortunately for me, mine let me get two nights away from home despite having had killer workdays beforehand. He’s the best and I’m very, very fortunate to have him. Love you, Jason!!

Posted in Family & Relationships, Kids, Parenting.

9 Responses

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  1. amy says

    Yup, that’s what I’m missing. Still trying to figure out how to fix that…

  2. Robin says

    Well said!

  3. Kimmy says

    I love you always, always. You really mean it if you say it twice. Now, about that bullet…………

  4. Kathe says

    You’re the best Jodi–Bunco would NOT be the same without you and your hilarious stories!!

  5. B says

    Awwwwwww!!!! You make me want to run home!! I can’t wait to catch up. It kills me that I missed out on all of this. Obviously, the key to being a happy, great mom and awesome wife is getting out with the girls (p.s. I don’t know how I feel about you having these “church lady friends” yet…….cheater) AT LEAST twice a week!!
    XO B

  6. jodi says

    Don’t worry, B. Even if they turn out to be awesome, they’ll always be my “new” friends. 🙂

  7. Bells says

    sometimes it’s really clear isn’t it that life is as good as the people we have around us!

  8. Kate says

    So true!! I go to snb once a month, and explain to the raised eyebrows at work that when I’m with my knitting girlfriends I do not have to talk about work, my kids, housework, personal or family issues unless I bring them up – I am free to be just Kate. I am firmly convinced that this makes me a better person when I get home, and then the next day and the next day.
    After that I’m back to knitting and chocolate to knock the edge off.

  9. jodi says

    LOL! You’re right, Kate. To keep me human, it really should be a thrice weekly get together. I’ll have to work on my frequency. 🙂

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