The student nervously adjusts her cap. Which side was the tassel supposed to go on? Reminding herself to shake with the right, grab diploma with the left, turn, smile, walk ... breathe. Her stomach is filled with butterflies of excitement and fear of the unknown. In a very different place a mom is touching up her make-up, gathering her things. Do I have all the files? Did I make copies of everything? Are all the supplies boxed up. She kisses and hugs her kids as her stomach fills with butterflies of excitement and fear of the unknown.
The graduate and the mom, these two aren't as different as they seem. It's graduation season. A time for students to celebrate their achievements and move on to new endeavors. Mom's have many "graduations" in their lifetime. Graduating from the dirty diaper club to the potty training club. Watching your child graduate from preschool, kindergarten, high school (they do grow up don't they?) This year marks a graduation for me, although mine will come without the pomp and circumstance or celebration. No graduation party, no potty party, just a night out with friends. After 5 years, I will be graduating from the "mommy clubs" and moving on to school boards and PTO's. It's a bittersweet graduation, coming earlier than expected.
I can still remember those harried first days of motherhood. Stuck in an apartment with this small child. Being so nervous and excited, unsure and hopeful. I remember thinking after 8, or was it 12, weeks that we needed to get out. We needed to find other kids, other moms! I stalked the local parks, searched on line, finally found what I was looking for in a pile of baked goods and pamphlets at the local farmers market. What would become my new "school". My first mommy club.
That was almost five years ago. My history with mommy clubs has been long and fulfilling. They were there for me when I was a lonely new mom and home alone in a town where I knew no one. My first mommy club was a lifeline that connected me to the community and made life long friends for my son and I. It introduced us to our local parks, other moms and taught us how to socialize and fit into this place we found ourselves.
My second mommy club helped me to adjust to suburban life. They taught me where things were and helped us make new friends. They surrounded us with food and love when we lost our son. They have helped us fit in and ground ourselves to this new and unfamiliar community.
I have learned a lot about myself through the clubs and the friends I've made. I have served on their boards and planned their events. Each club, board, and play group, has served its own purpose at a specific time in my life. While my graduation won't be met with a firm date or a cap and gown, it will still be monumental. I move into this next stage mommyhood, with the same butterflies as the new graduate moving on to a new chapter of their life. Just as nervous as I was when I started five years ago. However I am also more confident in myself and who I am now and I owe that all to the mommy clubs and the moms I meet through them.
This post was originally published on Chicago Moms Blog on May 28, 2010.
Photo credit Robert Crum under Creative Commons via Flickr