The Posse

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

“I’ve decided not to hate parts of myself,” my friend said.  She was staring down adoringly at her wide feet in groovy, cork-heeled sandals.  “It’s a waste of time.”

Wise words.

Recently, I was lucky enough to join this woman, and six others, for dinner. They are my “baby friends.” We met when I was pregnant with my son and we all started out on the twisty road of parenting together.

We didn’t have to really make plans in those days, we just sort of wound up together.  Most mornings, we’d meet at the base of the Commonwealth trail into Griffith Park to hike the loop with our babes in slings or strollers.  My husband dubbed us, “The Posse.”  We’d hike and talk.  We’d share nursing horror stories and swap theories about rash cures or bedsharing.  We admitted to sneaking a glass of wine while nursing or to “accidentally” kicking our husbands in the night.

In the afternoons, I could always count on running into a few friends at Shane’s Inspiration playground.  We’d spread blankets in the grass, push the babies in the little bucket swings and pick up our conversations where we’d left off.

It was in the company of these seven women that I attended the very first “Mommy Movie” at the Los Feliz Theatre.  I have a photo of the day and we look very tired, but very happy to be out in the world with our little ones.

We’d meet at the Los Feliz Café for coffee and baked goods and later, when the kids started walking, we’d take over the back patio at The Coffee Table.

Eventually, we started to merge parenthood with “the real world.”  One of us started a business, several went to school, others went back to work or started new jobs.  The daily gatherings turned into weekly play dates and when the energy of our growing children (and their siblings) outgrew our living rooms, the play dates became “ladies only” dinners.

Seven years later, we still talk about the kids, of course, but we talk about so much more.  One friend had recently rescued six bunnies and a kitten and another was working out a way to live abroad with her family.  One friend has a new office and another will take on the challenge of teaching fifth grade.  We still swap tips and stories and as much as we marvel at how quickly time has passed, it seems to slow a little when we are together.

In photographs of my own childhood, there are always the same handful of grown-ups in the background.  Even blurred, I can recognize the comforting shape of Julie’s hair or my Uncle Louie’s wide smile.  When I look at photos of my own children at birthday parties, the park or the beach, I see that they are gathering their own posse of grown-ups.  These women join me in protecting my kids, educating them, loving them.  I return the favor.  And we are all luckier for it.

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