We’re an opinionated bunch and come from seemingly alternative universes. Some of us are single, some of us are not. Some of us are black, white, Hispanic, and Syrian-born. A couple ladies drive luxury cars; others rely on public transportation.
Four days a week, for almost two-hour stretches, we are brought together at a most inconvenient hour---one that mercilessly cuts straight through the heart of dinnertime and throws the sacred school-night routine off kilter.
Day after day we sit gathered around a long plastic table under a free-standing awning and copious sky to gaze upon our children as they train for swim meets in the enormous Olympic-sized pool. Conjoined by motherhood, we want the very best for our children, be it college scholarships, better fitness, self-esteem, or healthy competition.
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That is why, despite our collective exhaustion, long commutes and mounting responsibilities we show up. It's funny because each one of us arrives cloaked in self-deception with books, iPads, cell phones and homework assignments in tow. And after settling our children in, we set out to multi-task this precious time away. However, after a couple of minutes, we routinely abandon our now-futile I’ve-got-to-be-productive notion, set our compulsions aside, and chat.
And because we can’t really see our kids---not only are we seated some fifteen yards away, but each little wet head merges together in an undulating sea of semi-submerged bodies---we’re released from the pressure to hoot and cheer from the sidelines a la Soccer Mom. Therefore, in collective resignation, we commune with our plastic chairs, relax and blather about life.
Sometimes we poke fun at the latest reality show misfit. Other times, we bitch about the laundry, the traffic, or bemoan our clueless husbands. The other day we partook in a profound exploration of the rudiments of bullying behavior. Each day the conversational menu changes.
What makes it all the more stimulating is the unique range of perspectives, personalities and life experiences each brings to the table. And through this ritual bonding, unwittingly, we enrich each other’s minds, gradually broadening our own personal visions of the future as we confide our hopes, our dreams and frustrations.
For me personally, these interactions form the crux of my social life as my solitary work, kids and family absorb most of my time. So this pretty much covers most of the adult conversation I get on a regular basis.
And it’s perfect. I know I’d never learn as much from women of my ilk. That’d be too boring, too familiar. These discussions supply me with a daily dose of mental stimulation. They’re life-affirming, and best of all, enlightening.
I guess when you really open your eyes and embrace what life puts in front of you, you discover hidden treasures. These women are mine.
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