I mentioned recently on Offbeat Empire that some of the content being cut from my second book is going to be showing up here on Offbeat Home & Life… here’s a slice!
Remember when I wrote about making friends as a grown-up? I talked about putting the work in, being forward and direct, and making plans — not just talking about making plans! Friendships don’t “just happen.” But sometimes the work that goes into making friends means reaching out to be there for people when they need you. Here’s a story…
One Wednesday, I left work around 2:35 to walk to my son Tavi’s school to pick him up. I love these 15-minute power walks from my office through my treed Seattle neighborhood, but I pause my stomping for a second to peek into the new spa that opened on the north end of Capitol Hill’s 15th Avenue.
“Ariel,” someone calls out, and I look over and it’s Annabelle, mother of Matisse, who is one-fourth of son’s bro-gang, which they call Team Glidiators.
Annabelle is getting her nails done.
“Oh lookit you!” I say. “Treating yourself!” She’s a former nurse, now stay-at-home mom of two and doesn’t get much time to herself.
“I know,” she says. “But they’re running behind. Can you grab ‘Tisse when you get Tavi?”
“Of course,” I say. “We’ll probably just hang out at the playground for a bit — I’ll text you.”
15 minutes later, I’m picking up Tavi and Matisse and we’re heading for the playground. Cate, mother of one of the other Glidiators, is there picking up her son Davi (yes, like Tavi — it’s hilarious), and we settle in at a table while the dudes run off to their favorite Glidiator corner of the school yard.
I send Annabelle a text: “Dudes are playing. Don’t even worry about coming down — go home and chill! I’ll walk Matisse home in an hour or so.” What I don’t say, because I don’t know her that well yet: “Dude, go home and jack off. I got this.”
Cate and I catch up, and then Annabelle shows up 10 minutes later, looking flustered and rushed.
“Oh, you texted?” she says. I guess she was walking when I texted, but whatever. She’s here now, and we all settle in to chat.
Cate is a nurse, and hanging out with her and Annabelle is always hilarious because when they get talking they get medical. Even though I am crass and disgusting and NOT squeamish, somehow they always get into nurse talk that’s almost too much even for me. (Almost!) This time it was Cate’s story about someone at a McDonald’s with a catheter bag of cloudy green pee that does me in.
“Oh,” Annabelle says, nodding. “Gonorrhea pee,” and Cate’s like, “Exactly!” and I put my head down on my hands and choke out “NURSES, MAN,” in between laughing too hard. “Y’all are so gross. I love it.”
Then another mom sidles up. She has three kids and I don’t know her as well, but she immediately dives into a story about her daughter humping the grocery cart, while her brothers whine, “Mom, gross — she’s humping the cart again.”
Then there are stories of bathtub farts trapped in tupperware, and a two-year-old with his finger up his butt, and Tavi telling me, “My penis hurts if I pinch it really hard” (yeah, dude: don’t do that, then), and the sheer volume of school emails that go out, and next thing you know we’re the last people left at the playground and it’s 5pm and the kids look exhausted and happy and it’s time go.
Later there are texts, and I think to myself, “I’m so glad I can model this for my kid. This is what making friends looks like.”
What does making mom-friends look like to you? Did you have to ask for help? Offer help? Talk about gonorrhea pee?