A cool thing about having become a mother at an advanced maternal age (their term, not mine–thanks a whole load, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) is having gotten to know people across age, race, and financial spectra. My children attend a city public school, and despite their school being in a so-called “good area,” the majority of its students would still qualify for free lunch. Free or reduced lunch designation = low income and/or poverty status, for anyone not in the know or not employed in public schools. In what is one the more hilarious, ironic statements I’ll ever write: We are an affluent family in our school district.
I appreciate that my kids’ classmates come to school from across the city and around the globe, and I can honestly say that I enjoy the company of the parents of each of my children’s friends. This post though is specifically about my little kid’s best friend and his mom.
I’m no dummy, but E and his mom are brilliant, like freaky smart the two of them are. My little guy and her E met on the first day of four-year-old kindergarten, and have been fast friends from that day. They’re dudes–Dude! And Duuuuude. And Dude?? They write each other the coolest BFF birthday card notes, they battle Pokémon til the wee hours of their sleepovers, and together they took second place in the district science fair last year. Teamwork and BFF-dom, yo. (But really it’s her scientist’s brain and E’s insane meta-thinking skills that took the science fair. My child inherited a language-based influence from his x-chromosome genetic contributor; I’m not known for my sciencing).
She’s a genius whose brain is constantly pinging with her next masterwork. Being a scientist pays the bills, but she’s the rare scientific artist: a creative. Covered in tattoos, she’s sewing or sculpting animal bones into works of art, baking pies and cakes so beautiful you don’t dare slice, or preparing dishes for the weekend’s pop-up restaurant. She’s a feminist who bleeds social justice and Black Lives Matter and loves death metal. In her youth, she escaped the Midwest and has lived on both coasts and metropoles in between.
She’s lots of things I’m not, and I’m not saying that in the way of wishing I were any other me but right-now-today me, or more like her. She’s perfectly weird in her way, as am I. I think it’s biologically possible that I could be her mother–she’s maybe 15 years younger than me?? She’s crammed a whole world of experiences into those years, and I feel fortunate she landed back here to raise her son. I’m certain that were it not for our children, we’d not have met otherwise.
I’m her “old” friend. I’m her son’s emergency contact card mom, text-me-at-the-last- minute to pick him up friend. I’m her long-ish term happily married friend.
She came to pick up E on a recent Saturday morning, and as we often do, we sit and talk for about an hour or two longer than either of us intend. Our conversations cover all of the above, none of the above and are sometimes silly, sometimes intense. She’s opinionated and open to debate and discussion, and also reflective. We talk a lot about relationships. She’s a badass single parent raising a pretty incredible kid. I’m the more mainstream middle-aged, committed, livin’ the mortgage-holding-two cars-two-kids-and-a-dog dream. “You are my white Barack and Michelle” she proclaimed.
Her inauguration of us made me laugh. A lot at first, but from her it’s really a terrific compliment. I’ll take it. If her ideal couple is the current POTUS/FLOTUS duo– scholarly, just, eloquent–and I’m even included in the same thought process? I’ll take it.