Grief has landed on our doorsteps with the loss of mothers and fathers. We’ve weathered head injury, gallstones, cancer and teenage drivers. We’ve raised – or are raising – a total of 28 children between the nine families. For a few, the current graduate is their oldest, for others the youngest. We’re all still married, which is almost a miracle in itself. We will forever answer to the call of “mom” and over the last decade-plus have fostered a deep love for our own kids and an enduring affection for one another’s.
None of us have tattoos.
We’re a varied bunch – from talkative to introspective, energetic to calm, cool and collected. Some lead. Others follow. Our friendships are arbitrary; most of us met by chance simply because our kids attended the same preschool. Yet, we are connected by a common history that cannot be defined or replaced. There may be long periods of silence, but we know when one of us is in pain, the others will be there to help; when we celebrate, the others will share our joy.
Fourteen years ago, I don’t think any of us had cell phones. Now we pull ours out to show one another photos of prom dresses or our kids’ tattoos, not realizing – in that moment – we have left a mark on one another that cannot be erased. Our simple dinner has taken three hours and we promise to meet again before another 14 years has passed.
Deep waters start as trickling streams, and on this graduation day, for a few moms at least, they will end with teardrops. While bittersweet, they will be tears of happiness for own kids as well as those of our good friends.
To think it all started in preschool.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” You can read more columns at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.