Posts Tagged 'friendship'

Lessons in Friendship

It has been so long since I’ve managed to scrounge together some time for a blog post. With the Bear starting school in September, we have been barely keeping our heads above water with the amount of commitments we’ve had. There are the ordinary ones such as school and work. Then there are the social activities that sneak onto the calendar.

MJ and I are pretty social people. We value our friends and regularly lament that we don’t have enough time for them. We don’t like turning down invitations and we enjoy doing things as a family with other families. But the Bear’s social life is adding a new twist…

The Bear has quickly learned to always say ‘yes’ to every invitation she receives. And the neighbourhood kids drop by regularly. She can’t quite fathom an afternoon by ourselves, at home. We’ve been doing playdates regularly (although I resist the definition, they are firmly a part of our lives) and birthday parties seem be part of nearly every weekend.

Of course, at the age of five, the Bear’s social life has a direct impact on MJ and I – we are doing the driving (which can be tricky when you have only one car!) or the coordination of the details. I’ve started to make sure that I have enough cheese in fridge for the usual my-friend-is-over-lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches. And then there is the issue of birthday presents – the costs quickly add up.

Part of slowing down is learning to say ‘no’. It is stepping back to prioritize your life so that the important elements are given the most weight. The tricky thing is, family and friends are high on our priority list. I love to see the Bear surrounded by such wonderful kids. And I love that there are no organized activities on our schedule (other than school) so that the Bear has time for developing these friendships and having loads of unstructured play. And theoretically, I love the randomness of her social life. Her social life is, unfortunately, getting to be more than we can handle.

So, what to do? My ever-wise sister suggested that we impose limits but let the Bear choose how to use her social time. For example, allow her to attend only two birthday parties a month. Or let her know she can have two playdates a week, but no more than that. And if she is the one calling the shots, then MJ and I can embrace the randomness.

I think we can all live with that.

And MJ and I need to remember to set an example too. We can’t see everyone all the time.


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