Striking up Friendships on the Work Playground

Continuing the flow of getting old Inside Outs from the newspaper up on here! Enjoy one from June 2010!

By some scientists’ count, we change friends on an average of seven years.

I can hear all the parents of kids running with the bad crowd breathing a giant sigh of relief.

And the rest of you letting loose a simple sigh of understanding.

Losing friends happens. It doesn’t make it easy.

Explaining the end of preschool and the inevitable parting of ways that stands to happen later this month has left me in a reflective mood.

And down in the dumps about filling out paperwork to send my baby to kindergarten, I needed a pick me up.

Little did I know I’d find it at yet another soon-to-be kindergartner’s birthday party.

It was the party of a child I would never have known but for my job at the Democrat.

The family lives several townships away, in the next county over, the child will attend another school district.

But it was a chance assignment at the Democrat shortly after I returned to work after my maternity leave that sent me to Cooks Falls to interview a family who’d undergone a tragedy . . . and a miracle.

With Jillian accompanying me on most of my assignments at the time, I did what I always did – picked up the phone and asked “is it OK if I bring my baby with me?”

“Of course,” came the answer. “How old is she?”

And it poured out.

Our children were born in the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor less than a week apart. Her son even bore the boy’s name we had set aside should Jillian have come out with a little something in between her legs.

The rest, well, you know what they say.

From a story in the Democrat to Facebook friendship. To playdates. To birthday parties.

A friend in the most unexpected of places.

I don’t work in the office at the paper anymore, something I mourn most because of the distance from the friends I met first as an intern at the paper while still in high school, more I met when I came back to intern after two semester at college and then the rest who I gathered in my corner over the years of full-time and then part-time employment.

As an adult, work is your playground. Common ground your Tonka trucks and sidewalk chalk.

And if you’re lucky, long after the truck has been left to rust in the sandbox, you’ll be watching your friend’s children waltz at their weddings.


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