I was new in town, living on the south side of Seattle.
Renton, to be exact.
We had lived less than a year in a relatively uninspiring mint green townhouse.
I was new to motherhood, new to staying at home, new to leaving the house with everything but the kitchen sink.
I hadn’t really met any other stay-at-home moms. I was enjoying hours and hours of staring into my baby’s eyes and I talked on the phone to my mom and sister every day, but I was also wishing for a friend.
I tentatively joined a daytime Bible study to try to get out of the house and meet people. I don’t love to walk into a room full of strangers as it is, but there is something about being a new mom that makes you feel so incredibly vulnerable and alone.
I was pushing past a lot just to be there, but when I arrived, I had to hand my little pookie over to a stranger and wonder if he could possibly survive without me. I wasn’t sure. I walked upstairs and found a seat in the sanctuary, near the back. A girl sat down in same pew as me. She left some space between us and kind of waved, like Hi I’m over here but neither of us said anything.
A lady stood up at the front to welcome us. She was very dressed up. She began to talk about how wonderful it was that this study was available this fall and that people from all around the Puget Sound area were driving to it. Then she started naming places,
There are people here from Bellevue, from Mercer Island, driving across the bridge from Seattle and all the way from Kirkland and Woodinville.
She named a few more nicer suburbs on the East side. As she was talking I thought to myself,
I’m sure there is no one here from Renton. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t have much in common with anyone in here.
As I think about this statement, it strikes me as amazing how very easy it is to convince yourself that you are the only one in the world who has ever experienced what you are experiencing. And how very wrong that is.
The lady said some more stuff and then she dismissed us to find our groups and the girl next to me said,
Hi I’m Laura.
Oh, hi, I’m Alison.
Where do you live?
How long have you lived there?
Less than a year.
Do you have kids?
One little boy. He just turned a year.
Me too, I have one little boy. He’s 8 months old.
And just like that, a friendship. A very precious friendship was born. A gift from God.
Over the next years, Laura and I exchanged recipes, babysitting, books and stories. We quickly discovered that we were kindred spirits.
We both missed our extended families, our sisters, our familiar traditions. So we made up our own together.
We spent Thanksgiving and Easter together. We went to see the tulips every year in Mount Vernon. We had a picnic on the first day of spring in the courtyards of the University of Washington while the cherry blossoms were in bloom. We joined the zoo and the aquarium together. We picked berries in the summertime. I taught her how to make jam and she taught me how to use puff pastry.
By the time we finished our first year of Bible study, we were both pregnant with our next babies.
Both of our families saw Seattle as home for now but not forever, so the day came for one of us to move away and then the other.
Now she lives in Oregon and I live in Arkansas. We see each other very rarely.
But whenever I hear from her her, I am reminded of God’s goodness. Her presence in my life when I was a young mama and when I was not apt to make a friend on my own was a timely treasure.
Have you ever moved to a city far away from your hometown? A place where you knew no one? How did you meet friends?