My daughter has no friends. Truly. And I feel like I’ve failed her.
All the typical ways she would make friends we just don’t have. We have no neighborhood kids close by. But, sadly, we aren’t at a point where we can move yet. When we moved here seven years ago, being in a neighborhood with kids didn’t seem as important. But now, being surrounded by mainly older neighbors has left our 5-year-old with no neighborhood posse.
Neighborhood friends were something I had in abundance when I was a child and they were the first friends I made and still have to this day 30 years later. The same holds true for my husband. He has the same friends he’s had since childhood, 40+ years later.
So we worry our current neighborhood just isn’t offering that for our child.
We also have no coworkers with kids to befriend her. My husband works almost two hours away, so his coworkers aren’t local, and I’m a nanny, so I have my nanny kids (who thankfully are her friends), but that’s it. Two kids who are like pseudo siblings to her and that I’m so thankful for, but she has no other real friends of her own.
She started preschool this past year and I was so hopeful for an abundance of kids to fill our home with play dates. I’m that over-the-top mom that loves hosting play dates and adventures. I keep the fridge packed with kid-friendly snacks and we have a pretty awesome backyard and playroom if I do say so. BUT thanks to Covid, those gatherings were kept to a minimum this year and we’ve only been able to have a few play dates at best.
My husband and I are also Dayton transplants. He is from New York and I grew up an hour away, so we don’t have any lifelong friendships locally with built-in kids. I have built a nanny network through work, but the majority of the nannies are childless and while during the week it gives us pals to hang out with, on the weekends, those kids are with their families. And the nannies are doing child-free couple things, and my husband and I are left entertaining our 5-year-old with no friends again.
This last year has been so isolating.
Between Covid and my mother’s passing, we have been somewhat on our own for a year and the effects of that are truly showing now. My husband and I have technology and a lot of long-distance friends to keep us going, but our daughter doesn’t reap the benefits of those relationships.
I long for a friendship to organically happen. Maybe a mom in her preschool class with a kid her age, maybe a family with young kids will move in next door, maybe I’ll run into another mom with a child her age at the library and they’ll become fast friends. I daydream about the friendships I hope she finds. I know it’s been a difficult year for a lot of us and for a lot of our children. I know I can’t be the only mom who worries about how their kid will find friends.
It can be so isolating when you just don’t have anyone in the same stage of life to do life with you daily. I cry sometimes when I realize outside of my nanny kids, she’s never even been invited to a birthday party. But if my husband has taught me, anything it’s to be patient. He often reminds me that things happen when they are meant to happen.
Our daughter is a crazy, wonderful package of energy and joy, and she will find her people when the time is right. She has years ahead of her in school, and I pray she finds people who will walk by her side and hold her up as my friends have for the last 30 years. As for now, I’m trying my best to facilitate where I can, but also to drop the expectations, realize this year has been crazy for most of us, and hang on to hope that we will eventually find our local village. The both of us.