- I am a mom of a 6 year old and a baby and at 46 I don’t enjoy working out.
- I recently befriended a semi-pro soccer player on the field.
- Our lives are completely different, but we enjoy each other’s company when our children play.
The playground was almost empty the afternoon we decided to stop by and ride the carousel with our son. I was holding my newborn baby in both arms, but I had an epiphany: I could use my leg.
Just as my son was excitedly clinging to the strength of the metal device, a beautiful, energetic three-year-old ran up, eager to jump. Her caregiver was just a few steps behind her, calling her name.
“Let me push,” he said, watching me balance on one leg in a “Karate Kid” style pose to move the toy in the park while holding the baby.
We started talking and I learned that he was a stay-at-home dad whose partner worked in administration at a private school. We talked about it and how parents often do this on the playground while their kids play.
We found them to be polar opposites
In these scenarios, the parents verbally feel each other out – it’s almost like a soft chat to see if we can become friends. Sometimes I don’t feel like making friends, but most of the time the Gemini dragon in me can’t help it; I just want to be loved.
It’s not unlike dating, except that while you’re weighing the pros and cons of being friends with your child’s possibly longer-term teammate, you’re also considering them for your partner.
When we talked, the topic of health came up. We talked about getting in shape and nutrition – which is weird because he was slim and fit and I was three months postpartum with diastasis recti, a condition where your abdominal muscles separate after giving birth, leading to to stubborn belly fat and the “baby bump” that can be hard to get rid of.
Between telling our kids to “put away that old candy wrapper” and “just use nice hands, please,” we somehow managed to string together a conversation and I learned that he was a semi-pro football player.
It was fascinating to me – I like to know people’s stories, but also, when does a normal 46-year-old mum meet a 24-year-old footballer on the pitch?
He told me his story: He didn’t take football as seriously as he wanted to when he was in high school, even though he was good at it and maybe it got him somewhere, and now he was trying to reconnect with his dream.
We became friends
We talked about the benefits of beetroot and other health tips and connected. We planned a date and told each other where we lived and our partners if they met one day.
Meanwhile, his 3-year-old and my 6-year-old became best friends the moment they laid eyes on each other. They were attracted to each other by high energy and the desire to chase the other everywhere. They laughed and screamed with joy at every little thing. Almost wordlessly, they would get as close as possible.
While I’d rather sit at my airy table in the backyard and write, my boyfriend would rather bang other grown men and catch and pass the football. He told me he works out every day and works on bulking up, while I try to do as little as possible but have big dreams of getting toned. My favorite exercise is walking while his runs. Somehow it works.
If you find yourself looking for a friend, I recommend looking where you least expect them – they’re always there.
Jessica Delfino is a multi-hyphenate creative. She is a showrunner, creative director, social media content creator, mom and host of “The Mom Report” on Pocono 96.7 FM.