There are two parts to this post. One is the rambling bit about missing my California mamas and what I'm finding here. The other is about recycling, freecycling, and reselling. I admit, this isn't one of my more cohesive works. It's all about that crazy photo. An Ikea bag, stuffed with clothes for a little boy. A tiny little boy who can't be seen over the lump of those clothes, but you can see the canopy of his stroller, peeping up from behind.
In the Bay Area, I had attended Support Group for Mothers with Bama, hooking up with 10 other incredible women and their babies. When we moved to New York, I immediately missed my community of mamas and their children, who were among Bama's and my best friends.
One of Mister's co-workers suggested we join one of the local mama boards, the Hudson River Park Mamas. I'd hoped joining this board (okay, and two others, West Village Parents and Bowery Babes) would lead to friendships, but I found most of the playgroup times didn't work with our schedules, and then I lost interest in heading to Tribeca for evening gatherings as my pregnancy advanced. Mostly, I just didn't feel like I fit in. If you didn't know this about me, I've never lived outside of California for more than five months (and that was in New York, about 10 years ago). I have not had the personal experience of moving to a new place and developing a new community. I have always had a theory, now a working theory, that it takes a year to settle, and two years to find your groove. I guess I hoped that I'd plop down and find a couple of like-minded yahoos to chat with at the park.
That didn't happen. I stressed out. I was sad. I cried. I said I hated New York. Then, I relaxed. I realized I wasn't opening up a bag of sea monkeys and adding water. It would take time to find people, in part because I had to lose the "be my friend" scent of desperation.
In the meantime, these groups have been amazing for selling items we no longer need (clothes, slings), giving away items (snack packs, books), and finding things we do need (a bathtub, summer clothes for Bama, shoes for Bama, clothes for the boy we didn't know we were having, a maternity coat to get me through to delivery). Most recently, I've picked up two bouncy chairs (one upstairs and one downstairs, which is no joke with our circular staircase). A couple of nights ago, I went shopping at Whole Foods before swinging by a mama's house to take her swing off her hands. Awesome. I've met some really nice women doing these exchanges. The woman who showed up in her full fur coat to take my stackable snack trap off my hands — she'd been looking all over for one. The woman whose daughter grew out of her shoes so quickly they looked almost new. Some of the women I've never met or seen, but am grateful for their generosity and willingness to pass along gently used items for reuse. My Gap tweed coat fit over my belly when the rest of my coats would no longer close. Pickle bounces safely in his bouncy chairs. Bama has a million dresses and a couple of bathing suits for summer.
Most recently, friends gave us bags (!) of clothes from their sons (twin boys, about Bama's age). We gave them bags of girls clothes as they were expecting a girl (and had her today!). I had a few holes to fill, and saw that one mama was selling bags of clothes in increments. Not only was she very kind, she was a person, among many I've met, who I could see being friends with. She sold me two overstuffed bags of clothes for $20 each (the same amount the millions of dresses cost). Between our friends and these outfits, Pickle is more or less set for the next few months, though I'm sure I'll be able to find him additional items at Clementine Consignment, our local (one of two in Manhattan … whaaa?) consignment store. Just today, I picked up a fabulous pair of Ecco shoes for Bama as well as a tutu, taking the cost of our store credit for things we are reselling. (Note to all: we love Ecco shoes. LOVE them.)
Anyway. I had to get those clothes home. The mama gave me an Ikea bag to tote it all. We loaded up the bag, then popped it on top of the stroller. Note, it's sitting on my purse, which is resting between Pickle's bucket and the handles, not on Pickle or his seat. But, I had to hold the straps in a crazy criss-cross as we walked the Westside Highway home. Yep. About 1.2 miles. I got a lot of "you bad mama" looks for using my son's stroller as a shopping cart. It seemed silly to call a cab, besides, the one I tried to hail drifted by me looking for someone less complicated (technically a no-no).
So, while I haven't made besties with anyone, I have found an incredible community of recyclers. The rest will come.
PS: ooh, this is a rambler, isn't it?