Our Collective Joy

I have a group of girlfriends I've known for years, and most of our kids grew up together. When we were young mothers, we traveled in packs. We were our own entourage as we carted our kids to the pool or the zoo. We grabbed hands, wiped mouths, doled out snacks, and took them to bathrooms. It didn’t matter whose kid it was. As they grew older, we sat a ballgames and cheered on hits and cried at losses. We relaxed in cool movie theaters while our children were mesmerized by The Rugrats: The Movie. Birthday parties were simple affairs spent at McDonald’s or backyards. We were a collective motherhood.

The kids grew into their awkward teen years. We saw less of them, but we still shared stories of their joys and sorrows. If some boy broke one of our girl’s hearts, we wanted to kick his ass. If another was experiencing pain, we yearned to fix it. These children were our children. We were a collective home.

So, when I got the phone call two springs ago about Nate, I could not breathe. Our boy. What happened to our charming, charismatic, and engaging boy? How could one horrendous act of violence take our Nate? All of us lost a son on that day. We ached for Laurie and Scott and Coady and Carlee. We hurt for our own children who were Nate’s friends. Misery haunted us. There was a somber hole in our collective heart. 

The days passed and the gloom eventually receded. The laughter and stories have begun to creep back in as we now celebrate graduations, jobs, and even wedding plans. So it seemed fitting and right when Laurie announced last Christmas she was going to be a grandma! Our Coady, the oldest of the crew, became a daddy on June 12. Xander Nathaniel entered the world to bless us with a new joy, and our collective soul sings.