I love this picture of my big girls during their first week back at school. I love how they are holding hands and wearing their matching sneaks and new backpacks. I love that they have each other. And they do. They have each other and their baby sister as built-in friends, 24/7 play dates. As the middle of five Donnelley sisters, I had this growing up, too. And I know what a wonderful thing this can be, and will be.
But I want them to have friends. Friends that are not sisters. And they already do. Each of them has wonderful buddies, close friends. And now, as they settle into new years at school, there are new friends to be made. And my question is: What role (if any) should I have in this process?
When they were babies, I signed up for classes and went out for strolls. It was my job to meet other moms and their babies. It was up to me to find friends for my little ones. And I did this; I encountered wonderful women and wonderful families; friends for them, friends for me. But now. Now my kids are getting a little older. They are in schools, worlds without me, and they are able to make their own connections.
But does this mean that my job is over? Should I stand back and let them foster friendships? Or should I be there, to make that play date, to engage in that banter with the other parent, to organize that picnic in the park for the new class of Kindergarteners? Is this too much, or the right thing to do? Is there a right thing to do?
Today. The girls are off from school for the Jewish holiday. And as we are not Jewish, I could have taken this as a down day to chill and do an activity or two, but instead I sent an email to Big Girl’s class seeing if anyone wanted to come here for a play date. And a few kids are coming over. And I am looking forward to this, and so is Big Girl. I am looking forward to meeting new people, new friends. And so is she. That’s what matters, right? Right?
The question that lingers for me is: Is this what I should be doing? Or should I be letting her do her own thing, letting these friendships form a bit more organically and what really does that even mean? Are you active or pro-active in planning your kids social calendars, making play dates, helping them forge friendships, or do you hang back a bit more in this department?