It was a young friend's 3rd birthday today, and of course also her mother's birthing anniversary.
I've been out to a number of gatherings with Jo's circle, such as a birthday party in a park, where families crossed each others' paths in the inevitable way they do when children rule the show and the playground draws their attention. I've been to hear a friend tell her birthing story where the environment was quite quiet and obviously everyone was there for one or two people. And I've been to a surprise birthday party for another friend where families again mostly crossed each others' paths while the children played inside, outside with a ball, on the swing or the trampoline.
Today was different though. The place we went to had a lovely back garden, big enough for the oldest kids to run rampant in, yet not so big that parents had to keep an eye on them. A bouncy castle for the kids, beautiful sunshine with shade for the wee ones, and all the kids getting along. Parents got to sit around and talk as a big group. This doesn't happen often.
It was awesome to get an insight in to the lives of so many other parents at once. I've heard stories before, but the dynamic of people comparing and contrasting their experience, hearing multiple takes and views on a particular event, situation or scenario, turning stories in to a conversation, was exponentially more insightful than a chat between 4 or 5 people.
A huge thanks to everyone that was there that shared a small part of their lives with me today. And a huge thanks to SP, for telling me I was pretty much part of the family.