I have brought my children to many lessons and classes over the years. Most of the time I just endure the hour or so waiting for the class to end, busying myself by reading a book or magazine, occasionally making small talk with other random parents.
This year at my son's gymnastics lessons there are four of us who sit and talk every week. Sometimes it will be a funny story about one of our kids. Sometimes a story about our husbands. We discuss our various jobs. I know their ages, their children's ages, where they themselves fall in the birth order of their families, what they hate most about their houses, even their stances on immunizations and medications. I know who had natural childbirth and who begged for the epidural in their last trimester. I know who has lost family members to cancer.
My husband always laughs when I come home with stories about women that I hardly know and talk to only one hour once a week. He jokes that I know more about my new "friend" than he knows about his best friend, whom he has known since elementary school. And that was a long LONG time ago, for those of you who are counting.
Last week our silly talks turned serious and we were discussing cancer, death, birth, and those moments that give you goosebumps down your arms because you have to believe that there is a God, some power that is higher than you, because random things just can't happen like that. And even if you are one of the people who isn't sure what they believe, these events grab you and shake you.
When I was 28 weeks pregnant with my youngest son I had an allergic reaction to something I ate at a restaurant. I had not had an allergic reaction like that to anything in over thirty years. THIRTY YEARS. That is a very long time. At the emergency room I was given a round of steroids to take. The physician in charge said I did not have to worry about any ill effects to the baby that it was the same steroid they used to mature the lungs of babies whose mothers were going into labor prematurely.
I had a placental abruption when I was 34 weeks pregnant. He was born weighing 5 lbs. They were expecting him to have trouble breathing. They were anticipating that he would have to be transfered to a larger hospital. He had no breathing problems whatsoever, attributable only to that week of steroids that I had taken. Or dumb luck. I chose to believe the former. It can't just be a coincidence. I still get teary eyed when I think about it.
The other women shared their stories. Individually the stories were moving, but together they were powerful.
One mother looked at me and said, "You know I look forward to this time every week." We all agreed.
We are a school teacher, a doctor, a writer, and an office manager. On the surface we would seem to have nothing in common. But for whatever reason in that tiny waiting room we bond while our children are off flipping in the other room. We leave each week and go off in our separate cars to our separate towns. And as much as I would like to think it is a coincidence due to our respective schedules that we all ended up at this class, I somehow doubt it.