This morning I managed my best ‘socialising’ so far this summer outside the family: 2 hours with a couple of really good friends and some of our children. Although I was nervous, being around people I trust and know well in a home setting was just what was needed. People I can chat openly with. People whose children are similar ages to ours, given that we met in an NCT group some years back. The children played well and Joe was able to indulge his latest Lego fad to his heart’s content as well as a large amount of ice lolly and running around in the sun with the other pre-schoolers.
I hope I can build up these social meet-ups and get out to more places so that I don’t deny the children opportunities to try some great activities over the summer. I am terrified of the swimming pool. I won’t go to parks without my husband there too. Any place that demands my engaged parenting for any period over about 30 minutes is too daunting to consider. Anything I can avoid, I will. It is very frustrating for parents who have to work during the school holidays not to be able to be with their children and take them out and about, but I am becoming aware that my frustration at not doing things is not for lack of time or motive, but anxiety – and that it has the potential to impact on Lily and Joe if I do not find good ways to use this time.
So I am especially grateful for friends. Friends who know the children well enough to go to places together, so I don’t feel over-burdened and so I can catch up with where they are. Friends with weddings, enabling us to focus on great celebrations and not worries. Friends who invite us to their country to share their culture and give the children a broader experience of the world. Friends who pray, send cards and flowers or private messages, who remind me of the kind folk in our lives. I wasn’t good at making friends when I was little, but these days I am amazed at the number of people in our lives, and how close so many of them are.
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.