When I had children, my friend set changed.  My non – children friends, whether single or not, went on with their lives and I made new, mommy, friends.  I started out friending anyone who had children and then, over the years, whittled out the ones I didn’t have much in common with, and now, have settled into wonderful, fulfilling, friendships that I cherish dearly.  I miss my other friends and, thanks to social media, I get to keep in touch with them.  But 98% of my friends and friendships now, revolve around our kids.

And the children of my friends are my girls friends.  Since their birth, we’ve pretty much frequented the same houses for play dates, the same restaurants when we want to get out – McDonald’s, and raised out kids together.  It never dawned on me that one day, they would make friends of their own.  With no connection to me at all.

It is an odd feeling when one of them says, “My friend is {insert various name}.” and I don’t know them or their mother.  It is a bit unsettling, really.  I don’t know anything about these kids.  I can’t judge them by their grades, test scores, or extra – curricular activities because, well, they are in preschool.

Already, they are asking to go to other children’s houses and have children here.  Granted, it is mostly the neighbor’s, but I know the friend that I know nothing about is coming.  She is going to be dropped at my door, accompanied by her mother – whom I will have a short conversation – and, hopefully, picked up four to six hours later.  In tact.  At least, that is the goal.

And I will  be asked to reciprocate.  To drop my precious little babies off at a house I do not know the ins and outs of.  I assume I will be stalking the house for the next four to six hours.  At least until I know that they will be returned to me.  In tact.  Or at least close to the condition I dropped them off in.

The nuances of this are so new to me.  They are making friends.  One day, they will make a friend I won’t approve of.  Maybe even have a  – gulp – boyfriend I don’t like.  I will have to be “that” Mom who lectures until her face is blue, attacks with emotional pleas, and bribes with new cell phones and personal transport pods – what?  It could happen! – to get them to drop that friendship, in the interest of replacing it with someone more favorable…. to me.

Sigh.  I am so not ready for this.  Can’t I keep them within these walls, visiting and playing with the kids I know and have watched grow?  Shelter them from the storm of low self esteem, image confusion, and other fun and exciting pains that accompany growing up?  I’d like them to have friends I choose.  Friends with mother’s that are my friends.  Mother’s that will be alert and top of their kids, thus disallowing favoritism and encouraging fair play among the kids.  Pre-approved moms and kids, so to speak.

I know, I know.  I can’t.  They have to grow.  Against my better judgement.  And make friends. And I have to let them.  And maybe God has a switch he turns on that helps me deal with it when the time comes.  Nestled next to the “letting them go to kindergarten” switch.

I just wish he wouldn’t flip it for another ten years or so…