By BILL YEE

As a new parent you go through a lot of uncertainty. When you bring the first child home you are not certain you are doing things right! I remember holding our son Derek for the first time and being afraid that I would drop him. Changing the first diaper and giving the first bath are new experiences. Furthermore, you are constantly tired because the kid is waking up every two hours.

Parenthood is definitely a period of adjustment. My wife Lisa bore the brunt of parenting since she stayed home and I went to work. One of the things that made the transition to parenthood easier for Lisa was a group of new mothers that came together through her efforts.

Lisa met one of the mothers in our Lamaze class. One she met in an exercise class, another was a colleague, and finally one was a family friend. They would get together on a monthly basis to have play days, field trips, celebrate birthdays, and major holidays. These mothers were a major support group for her as she navigated the uncertain waters of parenthood with a toddler and a first child.

What is amazing is that this Mommy and Me group has pretty much stayed in contact for almost 34 years. In the years that have passed, life has had it trials but it has also been filled with many more blessings and triumphs!

All the kids from the group are college graduates. All grew to adulthood without any major physical issues or illnesses, for which we as parents are blessed. Two are married and two of the moms just recently became grandmas. If not for recent events we would be attending the wedding of a third child of the group. All five of the kids in the group are productive members of society.

Most sadly, there has been one death. Life for these five kids has not been without life’s challenges but on the whole, life has been good. One family has moved to the Philippines, where one of the dads heads a major telecommunications company and the mom is an accomplished ballroom dancer.

As the dad, I was not privy to what these women talked about when they had their play days with the kids. I do know that more than just a Mommy and Me group they were also an informal support group. They may have vented from time to time about the shortcomings of their husbands. (Heh! Heh!)

But what I do remember is all the parties that we had through the years up to the time the kids moved on to college. There were a few Halloween parties. We had yearly Christmas parties and gift exchanges.

One of the more memorable Christmas parties was when they were four years old. The kids tore apart multiple gifts only to lose interest to go off and play with each other. On another Christmas, the highlight was the entire group singing Christmas carols together.

The funny thing at these parties is the moms would hang out with each other and the dads would do the same. We would self-segregate by gender. Our kids, on the other hand, would mingle together!

Everyone looked forward to these get-togethers, to catch up. One thing I did notice that unlike some parents, this group did not brag about their kids. In fact, they would downplay the accomplishments of their kids and praise the other children.

It is interesting that the time has passed so quickly. Our kids are now adults! The question is: Did we stop to enjoy the moments of their childhoods?

One other parent and I were the videographers of the group and have quite a few videos of our parties and get-togethers. Every once in a while, I will pop a video into the VCR or DVD player and just watch.

Three of the moms still get together from time to time and celebrate their birthdays. What made this group special is that they bonded as new moms but have also provided support to each other through life’s tribulations through the years. The gift of friendship has been a priceless treasure and continues to be such a blessing for these women.

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Bill Yee is a retired Alhambra High School history teacher. He can be reached at paperson52@gmail.com. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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