Seven Bright Lights in a Crazy World

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I regularly thank my lucky stars for the beautiful souls I have found to spend this part of my life with. They are the bright light in a crazy world.

Together, we have 18 kids. Our ages span more than a decade. Born and raised from New England, to the mid-Atlantic, to the midwest, all with vastly different life experiences. Maybe from the outside we look like an unlikely bunch to have formed a sisterhood, a tribe. But from the inside, nothing seems more natural. 

I know I am one of the fortunate ones. Some people wait all their lives to find someone they can trust so wholeheartedly. I’ve found 7 of them. 

It started with play groups, with taking chances, with faith. At the beginning it was awkward texts, groups messages, once a week meet ups. And over time, strangers turned into friends. Weekly meet ups turned into twice weekly get togethers. Their children, turned into ‘our kiddos.’ Twice weekly get togethers turned into, ‘my doors always open.’ Friends turned into sisters. Our kiddos turned into ‘my favorite girl’, or ‘my best dude.” Our kids turned into one another’s best friends. And today, we’ve turned into family. 

I look around at this magnificent, hard, trying, wonderful, exhausting life I have. Yet regardless of the wonder or difficulty of a day, I’ve surrounded myself with the most beautiful women, and their incredible families. And I feel whole. 

Every Friday, we get together for our ritual #winedown. A post-school, Friday afternoon pizza date at someone’s house. The kids play, miraculously well, for hours. We sit and attend to children, talk and attend to more children, laugh and attend to even more children,. Every Friday, I leave feeling full. Full of life, and love. Full of sisterhood. The other day, I left a four hour playdate with sun-kissed, chocolate faced, skinned kneed, dirty children. And after four hours, my son turned to his friends to hug them and kiss them good bye, and I carried my friend’s daughter to her car, just like I would carry my own children, whispering how much I love her. 

We breeze in and out, tag each other in as on duty while we attend to another child, count on one another to watch our kids for doctor’s visits, work functions, adult timeouts. I didn’t know what I was missing, until now. Until I found them. So when you get the chance to attend that first awkward meetup, or find yourself standing next to that ‘cool mom’ on the playground, or have a mom-crush on that woman at preschool drop off, reach out, stick with it, stumble through life with them until they move from stranger to friend to family. Because you deserve it – and so do they. 

Thank you to my beautiful, wonderful tribe, for being my daily bright spot. For sticking with me as friendships have turned into families. For loving my children, and for loving me. 

Ashley Gaudiano is a self-proclaimed strong, opinionated, driven woman; a nonprofit/small Business communications strategist; attorney; a wife and mom to two munchkins and three four-legged friends. She's doing her best to navigate this crazy world of parenting, entrepreneaur-ing, freelancing and dreaming, all from their home in Connecticut.