It’s the great American dream to raise your children in a cozy small town, especially if you grew up dreaming of Mayberry.
I grew up IN Mayberry… or the closest thing I’ve ever seen to it.
I STILL live in Mayberry, which is not my dream come true.
Don’t get me wrong, I have an incredible bunch of friends, all of whom are amazing women and men, and my children have grown up in the safe cocoon of an impossibly small and close knit town. There are great benefits that I wholeheartedly appreciate… but it’s not all rainbows and sunsets.
My sweet baby girl loves a local playgroup that is held once a week at a local church. There are a few moms I really like, but ultimately… we’re in it for the bouncy houses and free-range room full of small people. Its not religious, though you are welcomed to join their church services. We went regularly when she was a baby, and have started going again recently.
It is interesting as hell, to say the least.
I’m a lucky mom, because my baby is sweet and shares happily. She doesn’t have anyone in her life that doesn’t share with her, so it’s more a wonderful consequence of the 13 years between her big sister and her, than it is a reflection of my fantastic parenting. The downside, is that she gets a little mowed over at playgroup. It’s good for her, and she’s learning to defend her stuff these days.
She was happily marching a little hot pink double stroller around the busy room, when another little girl ran up and ripped the stroller out of her hands. She stared at me in horror, turned and stomped her tiny right foot.
B- NO! Be nice! Shaaaaaare.
The thief’s mother had appeared to return the stolen stroller. My little dumpling smiled and thanked her. Offering one of the babies to the angry little girl, who promptly threw it back at her.
Playgroup offers more than just bouncy houses. Playgroup is her first lesson that some people are just assholes.
Which is when I spot one I remember from high school. Great.
Remember that god-awful popular girl in high school who liked to call attention to people in their worst moments? Yeah her. The bad news is that she’s spawned. The worse news is that one of her little carbon copies is the same age as mine.
She has ankle boots like my teenage daughter, full hair & makeup. She’s smirking down her nose at the clusters of pajama clad moms, throughout the room. She’s eyeing up my Yoga pants, ponytail and complete lack of so much as moisturizer with more contempt than I’ve seen since 1993.
Her Irish twins are in the bouncy house with my Sugarplum and her eldest is trying to face stomp her baby while she lovingly “guides” her children with kind words.
Y-“Milwaukee, use your body with kindness towards Wenatchee. Wenatchee is small and needs you to help her learn. Milwaukee don’t use your feet for hurting. Milwaukee use your feet to jump and see how happy it makes you feel”
Milwaukee is attempting to break Wenatchee’s leg.
I am subconsciously peeing my pants in hysterical fits of laughter every time she says their names. I love uppity women who give their kids elitist white trash names. LOVE them.
I looked my daughter in the face and set the whole house straight.
J-“Don’t jump by that baby. She’s tiny and you need to be kind. Got it?”
B- “Got it!”
Miss Popularity frowned at me and I saw the recognition hit her. Uh oh.
Y- Jenni, isn’t it? We went to school together.
I smiled at her and she sort of half-sneered in my general direction. I’m easily 50 pounds heavier than her, in yoga pants and what’s left of my makeup from work last night… but she looks twenty years older than me, has bratty kids and too much patience.
Playgroup never disappoints.
I escape the high school reunion, only to run into another. A stay-at-home mom of one and only. Ugh. She wants to talk about poop and pull ups and all I can think of is signing up to be a foster parent so that we could have a built in playmate and avoid playgroup altogether.
A little singing and we’re out the door and home to the safety of the four walls that keep the familiar strangers, away.
Until next week, Mayberry.