I’ve got to be honest with you—I used to cringe any time the church I was attending started a sermon series that focused on children. As a young single adult in the church, I just felt like I was falling behind or was some kind of failure because that wasn’t the season I was in when others my age were in that season. So, when those Sundays rolled around I made it a point to not show up or fake a stomach ache when the sermon started. However, about five years ago that mindset changed. And I want to tell you why.
In my mid-20s my circle of close friends shifted. Up until that point in my life, most of closest friends were single or married without kids. But, after some friends moved out of New Orleans and some life change happened, I got connected with new friends at Vintage—friends who had kids. Talk about culture shock for this only child who had never consistently been around the same kids for a long stretch of time or changed a poopy diaper before in her life. All of a sudden I was around tiny humans on the regular and it legitimately changed my life for the better.
I will always remember the first friends/family that started to consistently pull up a chair for me at their family’s table. This family has 5 kids and for about 3 years I got to do life with them consistently—all 7 of them. These are good and dear friends who know my life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and who chose to invite me to do life with every single member of their family. They had me over for dinner and hangs, let me tag along to kiddo sporting games, and even trusted me to watch their entire crew for a long weekend. Spending time with all of those kids helped me see that even though I wasn’t a parent, I could play a part in their childhood/adolescence. I like to think that I was able to pour love and truth into their lives because I know this family was doing that for me.
Last November I made a purchase that might be a little weird for a single girl with no kids; I bought a booster seat to leave in my car at all times. That’s because about once a month I hang out with my friend’s 5-year-old daughter. We eat chocolate chip bagels before church (sorry vkids volunteers) and we chat about school, what books she’s read, and any other topic that comes to her mind. Then we jam to her favorite Taylor Swift songs until we get to church. Those Sunday morning hangs are the actual best and fill my soul in a way that I can’t put into words. We weren’t instant “minibesties” overnight, but because her parents created room for me at their dinner table and on their couch for movie nights and all of the things, we got to the place that we are now. I’m also beginning to have the same kind of relationship with her little brothers and I imagine that as they get older, I’ll have hangs with them too.
If you are a parent, I want to so encourage you to create room for your single friends and married friends who don’t have kids. Give them opportunities to get to know your children and be a part of their lives. Have them over for dinner just because it’s Monday and you made red beans and rice. Invite them to the dance recitals, the football games, and the birthday parties. Even if they don’t initially take you up on it, make the offer anyway.
If you’re single or married without kids, look for opportunities to spend time with some kiddos. If there are kids in your vGroup, sit next to them at the next group and see what happens. Go to the kid events you get invited to even if it’s out of your comfort zone. Take a chance.
I am thankful for the multiple friends that have widened their circles and have made a space for me. One of the greatest joys in my life is getting to do life with my friends’ kids—my “minibesties.” I’ll never be the biggest influence in their lives, but I look forward to playing my part as “Auntie Em.” I’ll be there for their big moments, the good days, and the bad days and I’ll show up and be there for their parents too. After all, that’s what community is for, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.