By the time we pulled into the parking lot, we were already ten minutes late and mildly frazzled from three epic diaper blow outs that morning. To be accurate, I was the only frazzled one from the series of mustard yellow-up-the-back-need-a-new-onsie diaper situations, while the baby was left pleased with his work.
“We made it, at last,” I said over my shoulder towards the backseat where the little prince patiently waited in his car seat with bright eyes and a rattle.
It was our first attempt at making new friends since moving from the Heartland.
One might ask how an introvert with a baby makes friends in this day and age? Considering that most of my friends were from school or old jobs, I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it without having formal employment or classes in common. And I wasn’t keen on sitting in a Starbucks trying to strike up a conversation with an equally lonely, caffeinated stranger. So, I turned to the internet for help.
Surprisingly, within a few keystrokes I found a group on Facebook for this very demographic, introduced myself and hit confirm for the next group date. It was all too easy, I suppose, because when we arrived, no one else from the group was there.
I clicked the baby into the stroller and walked the perimeter of the park, certain that the members of our new crew were just out of sight. We walked past the swings and the sandbox where the older kids played with their caregivers watching from the sides. Spotting a breastfeeding woman and then a pod of women with babies under a shady grove of trees, I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Our new friends are up there. We have not been forsaken,” I said already feeling a connection to the woman nursing her infant and grateful for the power of technology and the internet.
How else would we have found our new tribe so quickly, I wondered?
The group was up a hill, not easily accessed via stroller, but I was determined to connect and pushed with all of my might upwards over bumps and ruts.
“Sorry, baby,” I whispered jostling his head from side to side as we bumped along. “I’ll get you out in a minute and you can play in the grass with the other babies.”
A little out of breath and nervous, I yelled out as we approached, “Hi everyone, I’m sorry we’re late.”
Two blonde women chased a wild-haired toddler who ran towards us recklessly laughing. They looked up with barely veiled disdain.
One said, “Sorry, we’re a part of the Tinkerbells and we aren’t expecting anyone else to join.”
“Ok, sorry, I guess we’ll head back down the hill.”
And down we went, back over the bumps, at a much faster speed thanks to gravity and embarrassment, back towards the play area where we waited on a bench for nobody, like Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie.
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?