Mom made friends with a semi-pro soccer player on Playground

  • I am the mother of a 6-year-old boy and a baby, and at 46 I don’t like to exercise.
  • I recently made friends with a semi-pro soccer player at a playground.
  • Our lives are totally different, but we enjoy each other’s company while our children play.

the playground It was almost empty the afternoon we decided to go ride the carousel with my son. He was holding my newborn baby in both arms, but I had an epiphany: I could use my foot.

Just as the metal contraption my son was clutching excitedly gained momentum, a beautiful and energetic 3-year-old ran up, eager to hop on. Her caretaker was only a few steps behind her, calling her name.

“Let me push,” he said, watching me balance on one foot in a “Karate Kid”-style pose to move the playpen toy while holding a baby.

We started talking and I found out that he was a stay-at-home dad and his partner worked in the management of a private school. We talk about this and that, as parents often do on the playground while their children play.

We found out they were polar opposites

In these scenarios, parents verbally grope each other; it’s almost like a soft interview to see if we can become friends. Sometimes I don’t feel like making friends, but most of the time the Gemini dragon in me can’t help it; I just want to be loved.

It’s no different than dating, except that as you weigh the pros and cons of friendship with your child’s potential long-term playmate, you’re also considering him or her as your partner.

While we were talking, the topic of health came up. We talked about getting in shape and nutrition, which is weird, because he was lean and fit and I was three months postpartum with diastasis recti, a condition where the stomach muscles pull apart after birth, which it leads to stubborn belly fat and a “dog” that can be hard to get rid of.

Between telling our kids to “put down that old candy wrapper” and “just use good hands please,” we were somehow able to improvise a conversation, and I learned that he was a semi-pro football player.

This was fascinating to me: I like learning about people’s stories, but also, when can a normal 46-year-old mom rub shoulders with a 24-year-old soccer player?

He told me his story: He didn’t take football as seriously as he would have liked when he was in high school, even though he was good at it and it might have gotten him somewhere, and now he was trying to reconnect with his dream.

We became friends

We talked about the benefits of beets and other health tips, and we bonded. We made plans for playdates and told each other where we lived and about our partners, in case they ever met.

Meanwhile, her 3-year-old and my 6-year-old had become best friends by the time they saw each other. They were drawn to each other’s high energy and desire to chase the other everywhere. They laughed and squealed with joy over every little thing. Almost speechless, they had become as close as possible.

While I prefer to sit at the breezy table in the backyard and write, my friend would rather bump into other grown men and catch and pass a football. He told me that he exercises every day and is working on bulking him up, while I try to exercise as little as possible but have big dreams of bulking up. My favorite exercise is walking, while his is running. Somehow, it works.

If you find yourself looking for a friend, I suggest you look where you least expect to find him, that’s where he always is.

Jessica Delfino is a multi-hyphenate creative. She is a showrunner, creative leader, social media content creator, mother, and host of “The Mom Report” on Pocono 96.7 FM.

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