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“Don’t leave me. Please don’t leave,” my three year-old sobs. But after a kiss and a hug (from her end, it’s more like a tight, pleading grasp), I do leave her. Then, I run into the preschool bathroom, wipe away my own tears and go home. Three weeks into preschool and Dylan still doesn’t want to be left alone. Of course, she is not alone. She is surrounded by other children and loving teachers who take care of her.

As we all know, it’s possible to be surrounded by many people and still feel lonely. Motherhood can feel lonely. Or not. Singlehood can feel lonely. Or not. It’s strange to be in New York (a city of 8 million people) and once in a while find yourself pretty much alone – whether you’re walking down a quiet street or eating in a restaurant at an off hour.

Dylan, Summer and I started taking this “Oh Francais” class at a kids’ place called Baby Moves in the West Village. It’s a fun 45 minutes except that we are the only ones in the class. I’m sure others will join as the weather turns colder but for now it’s just us. It all feels a bit silly and awkward as the teacher goes though her French songs and games. We don’t even speak French. But I work my derriere off in that class – singing, jumping around and trying to make up for the absent children.

I’ve had times in my life where I’ve felt very lonely – when I graduated from college and didn’t know how to start a new life or when I was a TV anchor/reporter in Great Falls, Montana. I felt like a displaced city girl in search of connections among the cows and the big sky. Friends like Jen and Diana saved me that time.

Right now in my life, I don’t feel lonely. If fact, there are times I could use a little more alone time. But I understand how Dylan feels. It’s hard to step out of our comfort zone and experience something new and scary. But it’s a must for all of us if we want to grow, expand and feel fulfilled.

Every time I drop her off, I promise Dylan I will always pick her up. That’s what we all have to remember. No matter how difficult something is or how lonely we feel, someone (our family, our friends, our partners) will always pick us up.

mama bird notes

We have a new feature on the mama bird diaries called “contributing mamas.” These mamas will share their smart, clever and humorous insights with us. We love moms who tell the truth (makes the rest of us feel much less crazy). Daphne Biener, our first contributing mama, is trying to find out who moved her boobs. Daphne, if you find out, I’d like to know who moved mine. Click on “contributing mamas” on the menu bar to read more.

2 Responses to a pick me up

  • Allison Teweles says:

    Oh, how I can relate to this. Maggie, my 2 year old, clings to me at bedtime and says, "No, you can't go Mommy. Don't go. You can't say 'night-night'." Lately, I've just been giving in to more "last" hugs and snuggles- SuperNanny would be ashamed of my indulgence.

    But with my son going to kindergarden next year, I can see the end of all this. I've watched out the window as the bus picks up in the morning- none of the moms get long, drawn-out hugs and kisses before their kids get on the bus. Even when I'm horribly late for a meeting, I still treasure the 20 minute drop-offs that are mostly just group hugs with the kids.

    Yeah, a little privacy in the bathroom would be great and I'd love to watch the Today show instead of Arthur. But I know soon enough I'll have too much time on my hands, and I will be out of my comfort zone, and that, my friends, will be really lonely.

  • Tommy Tom says:

    . . . or not. It's worth also remembering that for too many kids (and adults) no one is around to pick them up; which is when those of us fortunate enough to have family, friends, and partners in whom we believe absolutely, can step in as surrogates for kids and adults who cross our paths alone.

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kelcey kintner