Friday, May 27, 2011

Been There, Done That

“Reach your arms up into the air and find the BEST mommy (who is YOUR mommy), and give her a big hug!” 

With those words from Teacher Lisa, the separation part of my son’s weekly "Play Pals for Twos" ECFE class begins.  I grab my bag and walk down the hall with a dozen other moms. Our group is chatty and friendly, asking each other for updates and sharing stories of the week past.

“Is everyone better at your house?” 

“How was your Mother's Day?”

“Can you get together next week for a play date?”

We head into a classroom, unpack our lunches and settle in for a little over an hour of conversation and learning facilitated by Sandy, our terrific Parent Educator. We are sometimes a tough crowd, taking the conversation in directions that I imagine Sandy did not anticipate.  How does discussion of the best area parks and playgrounds turn into a conversation about being “hit on” in a bar?  But Sandy is masterful in bringing out the best in each of us, helping us to share our experiences, our innate wisdom, our different approaches to this thing called Parenting.  And in the sharing, we each learn to trust in ourselves a little more, to understand that there is not one right way to raise our kids

I survey the room, and think again how lucky I am to have met this group of women.  As a newcomer to Edina last summer, I heard about ECFE early on.  After a month on the wait list, I was notified that a spot was open in the “Been There, Done That” class, which meant that the parent also had at least one older child.  And so our weekly meetings began.

And each week, I am thankful that I have had this amazing group of women to carry me through my first year as a Minnesotan.  They have shared tips on sledding hills, kid-friendly restaurants, and the best museums.  They have shared the successes of parenting, from potty training to family harmony, and passed the Kleenex for the stories of parenting despair, from potty training to sibling rivalry to ER visits.

As we head into summer and our last week together draws near, I realize that I will miss the group, but will take the friendships forward.  I also take a better sense of who I am as a parent, and my own ability to raise my children into happy, successful adults.  ECFE is unique to Minnesota, and it is an important and valuable addition to the Edina community.  I’m thankful to have been a part of it this year!

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