On the parents of my daughter’s friends

Understanding that a birthday party is for the kids (and not for the adults) we have planned Sierra’s birthday party around the kids themselves. No family, no friends-without-kids – just Sierra’s closest playmates and their parents (with one exception).

Thankfully, we’ve been lucky enough to know Sierra’s closest friends since the beginning. Many of our inner circle brought kids in at the same time – four children within five months, to be exact. So when we hung out together, our kids hung out too.

Our kids’ friends’ parents are our friends. It makes things pretty easy.

It won’t always be this way. I realized this yesterday, after wondering whether or not to invite some of Sierra’s daycare friends. Friends whose parents I don’t know. Friends whose parents I have nothing in common with. Which led to another realization:

I am completely unprepared to face the day that I don’t know the parents of Sierra’s friends.

What a silly notion, you might think. Well laugh it up – I’m completely serious. The luxury of knowing the parents of Sierra’s friends – not just knowing, even, but having close connections to – is something I never want to give up. I understand Sierra’s friends through stories from their parents. I have a connection to these kids – I look out for them as if they were nephews or nieces, caring for them like family. After all, our friends are an extended family, and we’ve been here for these kids since the beginning.

I trust them. I trust their parents. I have no qualms about letting Sierra spend the night, or go on a day-trip, or any sort of activity, with these people.

But I imagine a few years from now, once Sierra’s in school, inviting her friends to her 5th birthday party – the ones she’s chosen, from school or daycare or down the block. I imagine these parents showing up in my backyard, meeting me for the first time, struggling to find some connection outside of the pony show of a birthday party, my comfort zone smashed as I scrounge around for an exit strategy.

There’s a time in the future when I won’t want to go out for beers with the parents of Sierra’s friends. And it’s that time I’ll know that she’s growing up, making her own decisions and leaving my ideals in the dust.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be prepared for that.

This was lovingly handwritten on July 29th, 2009