About four years ago, I joined a gym for one purpose: to get healthy again. I had let my health slide after three children, and it was beginning to affect my mood, so I decided to do something about it even though exercise was not what I defined as fun.
So almost every morning after taking my two bigs to school, my three-year old sidekick and I would venture to the gym. She would get an hour of playing in with her friends, and I was becoming reacquainted with exercise. I joined several group fitness classes, including Zumba, and I discovered that maybe, just maybe, working out could be fun. Eventually I became stronger, more fit, and less moody. After eight years of pregnancies, infants and surviving young children, I found myself again.
What I didn’t expect to find was a group of sweet friends. And yet I did on those gym floors at a time in my life when I was especially lonely. These gym girls soon became my biggest confidants and encouragers. We prayed together, cried together, laughed together, and sweated it out together.
They were just what I needed at that time in my life. I love these girls and always will. I’ll always be thankful for those years we had together and the close bonds we formed.
Eventually though, as time went on, life changed for each one of us. Our ability to all gather together at the gym, at the same time, became more and more infrequent. My children grew and their needs for me also grew; my littlest went to kindergarten, I was spending more and more time focusing on my writing and photography, and eventually we began the adoption process. Our times together at the gym transitioned to quick text messages, Facebook posts and the very rare date to actually share an afternoon with a cup of coffee. To actually spend time together now, we need to make plans days, sometimes weeks, in advance. We are all so busy, and I find it all so bittersweet.
These days I am back into the world of bottles, diapers, and scheduled nap times. While most of my friends are pursuing their careers hardcore, I am rocking a sweet little baby to sleep. My days basically revolve around her and her needs.
Yet I don’t find myself lonely in this new season because I found a new tribe of friends knocking on my door with their own little babies on their hips, filling up my phone with text messages even from across the country, and others sitting on my couch drinking coffee. Changes in life brought new sweet friendships to add to the old, and I couldn’t be more thankful. These friends also pray with me, laugh with me, mourn with me, challenge me, and love me. We talk adoption, sleep schedules, and baby brands. Some of these mamas have their own set of bigs too, so we get to also talk about fifth grade drama, carpooling, and managing the schedules of not-so-tiny humans. I love that I get a second turn at this phase in life, and I love that I get to do it with wonderful mamas by my side who are also the greatest of friends.
I no longer take the time I have together with friends for granted because I know now that as life changes and evolves, even for the better, so do friendships. But no matter what season of motherhood we find ourselves in, good, strong mom friendships are vital. They are special and need to be cherished. I am thankful for friends of my past and present. And I am excited to continue to add other sweet faces to my circle. xo