One of the aspects of parenthood that you can’t escape is play dates. It is part of the gig.
I didn’t realize how introverted I was until I became a parent. I think it was just as hard for me to go to a new playground or Mommy and Me gymnastics session, as it was for my son; however, I did it.
Through the preschool and kindergarten years, I became more comfortable with it and tried to convince my son that play dates were fun.
In the beginning, it was easier to meet up with friends that had kids. The harder part was when it became clear that just because the adults were friends, it didn’t mean that the kids would form that bond. As they grew, their individual interests developed and some friendships were left behind.
When I think about it, this happens with adults too so I shouldn’t be surprised that it happens with kids.
A big part of the whole kid friendship thing is the parents. Our varying philosophies and schedules often help to determine who will be a repeat play date and who will not.
We had a play date yesterday with a boy who my son used to have in his class. He had received the title of “friend” and that isn’t easily given by my son. They had played at our house a few times and it always seemed to go well.
This time, we went to their house. I let this mom know ahead of time that I planned to stay since I didn’t know them well. I am okay with being called paranoid or controlling about the fact that I stayed.
They started out playing outside but the heavy air and heat made it challenging for mine. The other boy seemed in his element being out in the middle of the day, running barefoot on hot cement, frustrated because mine couldn’t tolerate touching the scorching bars of the play equipment.
I followed them to the park and sat on the hill so that I could be close by; the boys were so oblivious to my presence that they left the park.
I was sending a quick text when I realized that I didn’t hear any talking and I turned around to see an empty park.
Maybe it is the result of a messy, complicated adoption or maybe it is being a special needs parent, but my son is rarely out of my site. There were many places and directions that they could have gone. For a few minutes, while I walked the neighborhood, I was terrified. Logically, I knew they probably went to a neighbors or returned to the boy’s house, but what if…
I found them back at the house and I forced myself to smile when he waved. He didn’t know I was terrified. He didn’t even know that I had followed him.
They had returned because my TBP was too hot and wanted to go home. His face was red and his hair was sweaty. I looked at him and his eyes shouted, “Let’s go.”
Once we had said our goodbyes and we were back in the car, I asked my son about the time with his friend.
He is nice and I like him, but I’m not sure we like the same things.
We talked about the fact that everyone tries on friendships and some stick and some don’t. There are some friendships that are effortless and others that take work.
Although, this time wasn’t 100% successful, I feel like the learning and self-reflection involved was valuable.
There are people who my son likes to see. They tend to be boys and they share a love of video games.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Personally, I’m always a bit relieved when the mothers of these friends understand and have personal experiences that I can relate to with parenting…homeschooling, twice-exceptional, introverts, smart but not always considered classroom smart.
What are your thoughts on these visitation times?