It has taken me a long time to navigate school-yard relationships.
Not between my children, but with other mums. And their cliques.
To be fair, I've not made a lot of effort. I don't need friends.
That sounds awful. But I don't. I have beautiful friends in handfuls of different circles who I love and treasure in my life. So I didn't feel driven enough to try with school mums.
But something changed in my heart this year.
I felt like, even though I didn't need friends, that that Small Voice was whispering that maybe they needed me? Or rather, He in me.
My eyes were opened to others in a way they hadn't been before, and I started to make more effort to smile, and become a little bit more outward focused.
It was hard at first. I think I expected instant acceptance.
It was gradual. I had to do some inviting. I had to make myself available.
I had to say yes, even when it was hard. I went to playgroup. I opened my home.
I had to deny my shy-by-nature personality. I'm still denying.
I visited a new school mum friend today.
I baked biscuits this morning, and found an apt reminder as I was putting clothes away, and getting ready.
Her nephew and my Joel were in the same class this year. He was new to Joel's class mid-year. He lost his mother. His aunt took he and his older brother in.
To add to the three little ones of her own.
She is amazing.
Her and her partner sleep on a sofa bed in the lounge room - they gave up their bedroom, and I'm assuming so much more.
She smiles as she talks about her full house and shrugs her shoulders.
We walked to their place, almost directly across the road.
How close can we be, yet know nothing about the lives of others.
I'm thankful to know her. Glad I've begun to lift my eyes.