- I am a mother of a 6 year old and a baby and at 46 I do not enjoy exercise.
- I recently befriended a semi-professional soccer player on the field.
- Our lives are completely different, but we enjoy each other’s company when our children play.
The playground was almost empty in the afternoon when my son and I decided to come and take a ride on the carousel. I was holding my newborn baby with both hands, but I had an epiphany: I could use my leg.
Just as the metal contraption that my son was enthusiastically clinging to gathered momentum, a beautiful, energetic 3-year-old ran by and eagerly jumped on it. Her caregiver was just a few steps behind her, calling her name.
“Let me push,” he said, watching me balance on one leg in a “Karate Kid” style move to move a toy in the park while holding the baby.
We started chatting and I learned that the father was at home, whose partner worked in administration at a private school. We talked about this and that, as parents often do on the playground while their children play.
We found that they are full of opposites
In these scenarios, the parents verbally feel each other out—it’s almost like a soft interview to see if they could become friends. Sometimes I can’t make friends, but mostly the Gemini dragon in me can’t help; I just want to be loved.
It’s not unlike dating, except that while you’re weighing the pros and cons of being friends with your child’s potentially longer-term play partner, you’re also considering them as your partner.
During the chat, the topic of health came up. We talked about getting in shape and diet – which is unusual because he was slim and fit and I had diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate after giving birth, leading to stubborn belly fat and a puppy, three months postpartum , which is difficult to get rid of.
Between telling our kids to “put away that old candy wrapper” and “just use pretty hands, please,” we somehow managed to strike a conversation and I found out he was a semi-pro football player.
I found this fascinating – I like to know people’s stories, but also, when does a normal 46-year-old mother find herself interacting with a 24-year-old footballer on the pitch?
He told me his story: he hadn’t taken football as seriously as he wanted to when he was in high school, even though he was good at it and it might have gotten him somewhere, but now he was trying to reconnect with his dream.
We became friends
We talked about the benefits of beets and other health tips and bonded. We planned play dates and told each other where we lived and about our partners if we ever met.
Meanwhile, his 3-year-old and my 6-year-old became best friends the moment they laid eyes on each other. They were attracted by each other’s great energy and desire to chase the other everywhere. They laughed and shouted with joy at every little thing. Almost without words, they became as close as possible.
While I would rather sit at my garden table in the garden and write, my friend would rather run into other grown men and catch and pass the ball. He told me that he works out every day and is trying to bulk up, and I try to work out as little as possible, but I have big dreams to lose weight. My favorite exercise is walking and his favorite exercise is running. It kind of works.
If you’re looking for a friend, I suggest you look for it where you least expect it – it’s always there.
Jessica Delfino is a multi-hyphenate creator. She is a show host, creative host, social media content creator, mom and host of “The Mom Report” on Pocono 96.7 FM.