As a blind mother of a toddler and infant, I’ll be the first to admit — it’s not easy to make friends. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say, I actually don’t have any. Friends, especially fellow mommies, are hard to come by. Without eyesight, I can’t physically get to the local Gymboree class or meet up for toddler dance sessions. My children are too young to travel by car service because they still require car seats. My double stroller is too cumbersome for public transportation. I am resigned to stay in the vicinity of my own neighborhood, which thankfully has a small zoo I can navigate without the use of my white cane.
My 2-year-old daughter often brings stuffed animals with her when we take our zoo walks. She has just started mastering the art of imaginative play, and the conversations between her dinosaurs and princess dolls is beyond entertaining. She also has her fair share of imaginary friends who assist in collaborating with her theatrics. Then it came to me — if my 2-year-old can do it, why can’t I? So I came up with my own list of imaginary mommy friends who (in my mind) are my besties. Each has a quality I want in a lifetime gal pal. When I’m having a crappy day or meltdown moment and I need a fellow mother to turn to, I think to myself, “What would ___________ say if she were here?”
1. Pioneer Woman (Domestic Goddess): Ree Drummond is my biggest girl crush, seriously. How could you not love a woman who blogs, photographs, cooks, raises four kids and is married to man who looks that good in a pair of Wranglers (shout out to her husband, Marlboro Man)? Ree seems caring and genuine about what’s most important in life: family. She’d happily lend me a cup of sugar, coach me on what to cook for a church potluck and be that experienced voice to listen to when my daughters drive me crazy with their shenanigans. I’d love to know a fellow mom who’s been around the block in the parenting world.
2. Rosie Pope (The Guru): Rosie’s built her empire by understanding what women need before, during and after pregnancy. She gives parents a road map for deciphering their kids. Teething problems? I’d call Rosie. Gotta look hot for date night? I’d email her for easy, mom-friendly fashion tips. She would get me through the tough times of parenting with her extensive knowledge as a parenting professional and mother of four. I’d like a mommy friend whose personal experience proves she’s got her act together.
3. Tina Fey (Comic Relief): Hysterically funny, beautiful and successful describes this one-of-a-kind mommy. I could easily confide to her all the comedic escapades of life with my husband and two children. I’d love to meet another mommy to laugh with about the things that go on daily in our households. Lord knows, we mommies have lots of material.
4. Dr. Jennifer Arnold (Kindred Spirit): As a pediatrician and mother of two, Jenn of TLC’s “The Little Couple” would be the person I could call if one of my kids were running a fever. I know she’d give me great medical advice without judgment. As a little person, Jenn knows what it’s like to be an outwardly unconventional mother. It would be great to meet another mother with a disability, who loves her kids like I do and is just trying to raise them as best she can. It would be nice to know I’m not alone.
5. Daphne Oz (My Idol): Daphne is a young, working mom trying to balance career, family and parenthood. She integrates aspects of healthy living into every facet of her over-scheduled existence. Daphne is the mom I think of when I’m feeling overwhelmed by my kids, need to meet a deadline for work and still have to make dinner. She’s the little voice inside my head telling me, don’t order a pizza, make one with your girls.
6. The Lady at the Zoo: I don’t know you’re name, but you have a little girl who’s about the age of my eldest daughter. I tried to talk to you once. You commented on how you “had never seen the type of glasses I was wearing before.” I took them off to show you and told you I was blind. I could hear the nervous tension in your voice as you said, “That must be hard” and then you hurried your child to the next exhibit.
We pass each other at the zoo every day, but you always leave quickly as my daughters and I approach. In fact, you can’t seem to get away fast enough. I know you don’t want anything to do with me, but in the confines of my imagination, we’re friends, and our children laugh and play together as they look at the animals.
I’d like to have another mom to go to the zoo with. I’d like my daughters to see I have meaningful friendships with women and fellow mothers who are loving, professional, creative and fun. I’d like to be able to show my kids there are good people in this world, who aren’t afraid of their mommy because she is different… because she is blind. Someday I know I will make a great friend and fellow mom, and then I can stop pretending. Until then, I still have Ree, Rosie, Tina, Jenn and Daphne to help me through my day — they just don’t know it.