Ever been on a blind date? Think of the anxiety. And the nervous excitement. The fear that everything will be awful. Or that it will be great, but the other person will hate you. That you'll have zero in common. Or that you'll have weird things in common. That you'll have nothing to talk about. But you go anyway, hoping that it will all be okay.
I had actually managed to get married without having ever been on a blind date. High school sweethearts and all that. I had watched my friends go on them (and inevitably complain about them). I had even set up a few for friends that didn't know each other. But I had never actually experienced it. I thought I had escaped scot-free.
And then, I became a mommy.
I have two friends with children. One lives an hour away and our lives never seem to coincide correctly to get together regularly. The other lives forty minutes away in the opposite direction and is a working mom. Because of this fact, Miles has had almost zero interaction with other children in his age range. In a moment of delusion that I was actually a Good Mommy, I decided that Miles needed to start socializing with other toddlers. But that meant meeting other mommies. Mommies I didn't already know.
Cue panic attack.
Seriously, if this is what the idea of a blind date was like, I could not fathom why anyone would ever go on one. My chest tightened up. I began to hyperventilate. My palms were sweaty, and my face itched.*
And then I realized that I had no idea of how to go about meeting other moms. My breathing slowed. My heart rate returned to normal. The itching stopped. I wouldn't have to meet other mommies. I had no way of knowing how to find them!
Enter the internet.
Like those weird people who meet their spouses online,** I met my first new mommy friend online. You know that awesome board I talked about the other day? There was this lady there who I had been talking to for ages. Her son was a few months older than Miles, and did some of the same zany things. After months of talking to her online, we realized that we live in the same area. Like, less than 10 minutes away. Inevitably, someone suggested we get together. And I got all excited and agreed.
And then had a panic attack. Tight chest. Hyperventilating. Itching.
What if our kids hated each other? What if Miles pulled Elliot's hair? Or pushed him over? What if two minutes around another toddler brought out the worst in Miles? What if the mom was weird? Or was one of those judgy moms that scare me so much? Worst of all, what if the kids got along great, but the mom and I had nothing in common? Would I have to continue playdates for the sake of my kid, dreading them each time? My head was not a fun place to be.
But, I steeled myself, and met Elliot and his mommy at the mall's indoor play area.
And she was awesome. We talked for an hour and a half, without any of those awkward pauses. We talked about the difficulty of being a stay at home mom, and the challenges of raising an active boy. We talked about our husbands, and our lives pre-kiddos. And when the boys were getting restless and were ready to go, I found that I wished we had more time.
So, we got together again yesterday, at the library's literacy center. The boys climbed on the train table and tried to escape and turn off the lights and throw crayons. And in between chasing them, and correcting them, and pulling them down from yet another table, we got to talk. And once more, the boys were ready to leave before we were. So, we said our good-byes, and made tentative plans for another playdate next week.
And I'm glad I went on that blind playdate. Even if the panic it caused nearly killed me. :)
*Yeah, when I get nervous, I itch. Weird? Probably, but what else is new.
** Hi, Mom!