Over a week ago, the day after my birthday actually, Chicago Tribune Daily Southtown reporter Donna Vickory, a fellow Tinley Park mom and grandma, reached out to me about an article she was working on about friendship. A woman new to the Orland Park area reached out to her for help with finding friends. She recently moved to Orland Park from Washington with her husband and 1-year-old baby and is having a hard time meeting “real” people. Experts told Vickory that social media has made it more difficult for people to actually connect in person and that relocators, immigrants, and even new moms often have a hard time finding friends who have things in common. So she was in search of people who could give tips or strategies for making new friends, and of course I obliged. Afterall, I’m the Tinley Park Mom, I know a thing or two about how hard it is to make mom friends. It’s the big reason I started this blog and the Facebook group I started, Tinley Park Moms.
You have to buy a full online subscription to the Chicago Tribune in order to read the full article unfortunately. But here’s my part, that should be ok to share:
Stephanie Pyrzynski, of Tinley Park, has been in da Silva’s shoes.
Recently the new mom started a Tinley Park Moms Facebook page and a blog as a way to reach out.
“You can look for Facebook groups to propose playdates and ask for advice,” she said, “but there is a reticence all too common in moms to take that chance to connect.”
That can be due to scheduling conflicts or just an uneasiness about engaging with someone you don’t know, she said.
People seeking new friends have to be willing to “put themselves out there,” she said. She suggested going to the local library or park and reaching out to other moms.
She joined a nature group called Wild Child that visits local nature preserves such as the Little Red Schoolhouse weekly.
“But truly, it is hard out there for a mom. Society is not as social as it once was,” she said. “There’s far more fear and less flexibility for moms in the world we live in.”
The first four years are the roughest, she said. “I think once preschool, kindergarten and first grade roll around, it should get better.”
Follow reporter Donna Vickroy on social media:
Two Friday’s ago, April 26th 2019 to be exact, my daughter embraced and was embraced by a little boy her senior at the Morton Arboretum. They just so happened to be in this walkthrough tree house. I know what you’re going to say, Eileah and some boy kissing in a tree. And you’d be half right. This was Eileah’s first time hugging anyone outside our close family, and her first time hugging a boy! It was so sweet when it happened. We were on another adventure with our mom and kids group Wild Child, exploring the Children’s Garden exhibit at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. It was Arbor Day, admission was free if your kid(s) dressed up like a tree or wore something tree-related, it was a sunny day, one had to heed the call of nature. It was our first big outing after winter and we were psyched.
Though I brought our stroller I felt in my heart it was wrong to relegate Eileah to her stroller solely as an on-looker. Though without shoes and with only socks on, I let her roam freely to fully experience the day.
In the afternoon we would stop by Golden Shoes in Palos Heights for a pair of tennis shoes and sandals. We learned she is a size 5 and 1/2.
As we reached the end of the Children’s Garden, we turned right from the Wonder Pond and went up to the Tree House. And there we met Eileah’s boyfriend. With his grandmother, the nameless young man of maybe 3 or 4 years of age looked at my daughter with joy as she wandered up, and spread open his arms as she spread open her arms, smiles on both their faces. And then click, they hugged like a circle coming together. I had to capture the moment.
What he saw in her, what she saw in him I can’t say, but it was enchanting to witness. The innocence of puppy love reminds you that we’re all born inherently good. Yes, a totally dreamer statement, but honestly if two children, complete strangers, can be so instantly come together, why is it so out of the question? That’s my two cents to the Hobbes and Locke nature theory. To witness anything in nature is magical. And to witness a precious innocent moment between young children brings a sparkle to one’s eye. Now they are ignorant of sexual politics and things like the #MeToo Movement. Right now all they know is pure and it’s heartwarming.
As I said, now that winter is over we are getting out more and she seems to keep on attracting toddler boys to her. Has she already become a heartbreaker? Following that lovely day at the Morton Arboretum Eileah met a boy at our nearby park in Tinley, Pottawattomie Park and a little boy and his family were at the playground and Eileah and him locked onto each other. He wanted to share his Paw Patrol firetruck with her. He stayed with us, playing on the slide and swinging on the swing set. Before his family left (two sister, mom, and grandparents visiting from Denver, CO) he came up to me and said to meet him again at the playground. It was so sweet, he whispered like it was an important secret. Ah, young love. He was 4 years old and already a romantic.
Fast forward to this week on Tueday at the Tinley Park Public Library and after Bouncing Babies Storytime for children 3 months to 23 months of age, Eileah met yet another boy. He was playing in the play area for very young children and had this structure made of connective dots from the toy box in his hand. Eileah went up to him and he let her take it from his hand. He was smiling incandescently at her. She cold-heartedly walked away with her prize, but the boy had gotten the pleasure of making someon cute happy. He followed her for a while, his name James, 3 and a half years old, until he had to go home.
My daughter is growing up… Eileah is almost 15 months old and has been suddenly a boy magnet. She’ll have many loves in her future, but these first ones I’ll always remember as a mom. These are milestones that mark the beginning of my letting nature take it’s course. It gives me comfort knowing that someday she will meet her prince or princess charming, and they will love her just as much as me. Crazy to think, in a flash they say you’ll be at your child’s wedding before you know it. Where does the time go?