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I have always liked my alone time. Before I had a kid, I would relish the times I had to myself to do absolutely whatever I wanted. Enter child. Free time availability reduced to 0. I considered it a necessary, but terrible loss.

Contributing to my woes is the fact that I am not very good at asking for help. The idea of leaving my kid with someone else feels like a huge burden to ask them to shoulder. So up until recently, I wouldn’t do it very much.

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Berry-picking BFFs

Enter Dawn. Dawn’s daughter is one of my girl’s besties. Like most 6 year-old girls, their relationship can be fickle, but for the most part, they get along very well. More importantly, Dawn and I are fairly compatible as well. In fact, we have found a number of eerie similarities in the way we are. Chatting for one of the first times at a school concert, we discovered, question by question, that we’d attended the first semester of university together in Montreal. We were in the same class! And here we are now, our daughters born a few months apart from each other, living in the same neighbourhood, similar careers, likes, dislikes, sense of humour, and character. Behold, the power of marketing demographics. At Christmastime, we’d picked out the exact same gift for the girls’ teacher. Stuff like this happens all the time with Dawn and I.

One of the greatest things about this, our burgeoning friendship, is the fact that we can afford each other long stretches of very much needed kid-free times. As I’m writing this, my kid is into hour two of her playdate over at Dawn’s. And when they’re done playing, their whole family, including the 1 year-old baby brother, and dad Brad, plus my kid’s dad and probably the dog will all come over to mine for a BBQ. And on several occasions, Dawn has invited me over to their family dinner to round up the weekend.

For my girl, it’s a great opportunity to get that gather-around-the table feeling that she doesn’t usually get being the only child in a separated family. It’s been wonderful for her to be a part of the cacophony of the baby squawking in his highchair, arms criss-crossing over the table, mum or dad passing the plate to cut the meat; the conversation over food.

And at one such dinner, Dawn introduced one of their family traditions, which is to go around the table and say one thing that we’re thankful for. It’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore—why should it be? Talking about what we appreciate brings an awareness and reminds us not to take happy moments like this for granted. Not everyone is so lucky to be so comfortable and safe and surrounded by kind people.

So in advance of our dinner tonight, where I will start off the Thanking Circle, I want to say thank you, Dawn, for affording me the time to write this blog post. It’s been lovely getting to know you and Brad and I look forward to more outings and hangouts with and without the kids. I really appreciate your friendship and hope that we never have a fight over who is better at the monkey bars.

Guess what? Dawn also writes a blog. You can read it here.

Originally posted June 17, 2012

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