In Montreal, it seemed all I ever wrote about was snow and ice. Our first winter here was relatively mild, although, by all accounts, wetter than usual. We’ve had a few warm days, but until this week, it hasn’t really felt like spring, despite the daffodils that have been blooming everywhere since late January. The trees are still bare naked, but at least the sun has come out.
Along with the other signs of Spring, this afternoon I spotted a gaggle of Young Moms. There seem to be many more mothers of young children in their early 20s here than there are other first-time moms my age. I don’t envy them their youth or even their fertility. (I’m obviously making some big assumptions here. I know young women also experience infertility; I just didn’t get the impression that any of these women had, based on what little of their conversations I overheard.) I did envy them, though, and here’s why:
There were five of them, each with one child about a year old, give or take a few months. Some were walking, some were crawling, some were taking off, trying to escape the playground. But the thing was, without looking closely, you couldn’t tell which child belonged to each of them. When Child A was pushing at the gate, Child B’s mother swooped in to prevent him from fleeing. When C was lingering near the bottom of the slide, D’s mom shooed her from the danger zone. They weren’t just a group of friends, they were a tribe.
That’s what I’ve been missing. That’s the thing I haven’t had since becoming a mother–or maybe ever. We have no family here. The few friendships I’ve managed to cultivate are tenuous at best. We don’t even have a babysitter. There’s no one I can call for regular play dates, no one I’d feel comfortable leaving Missy with for even a few minutes, let alone a date night. And there’s no one for Missy to grow up with; even her birthday party was just the three of us.
Now that the weather is starting to improve, there will be more days at the park or the beach, more opportunities to meet other families. I hope it’s the start of a new season for us here. Beyond just settling in, I hope it’s a chance for us to begin to put down roots.