I’m a 46 year old mom who hates to exercise. Because of my child, I am now friends with a 24 year old semipro football player.

jessica delfino playing guitar

Jessica Delfino.Courtesy of Jessica Delfino

  • I’m the mother of a 6-year-old and a toddler, and at 46, I no longer enjoy exercising.

  • Recently I befriended a semipro football player on a playground.

  • Our lives are completely separate, but we enjoy each other’s company when our kids play.

The playground was nearly empty the afternoon we decided to ride the merry-go-round with our son. I was holding my newborn baby in both hands, but I had an inkling: I could use my leg.

Just as my son was getting up to speed with the metal tool, a beautiful, energetic 3-year-old came running in, eager to jump. Her caretaker was just a few steps behind her, calling her name.

“Let me push,” he said, looking at me balancing on one leg in a “Karate Kid”-like way to move a park toy while holding a child.

We started chatting, and I learned he was a stay-at-home dad whose partner worked in administration at a private school. We talked about this and that, as parents often do on the playground while their kids play.

we found out were polar opposites

In these scenarios, the parents verbally feel out each other – it’s almost like a soft interview to see if we can be friends. Sometimes I don’t feel like making friends, but most of the time the Gemini Dragon in me just can’t help it; I just want to be loved.

It’s not unlike dating, except that when you’re weighing the pros and cons of a friendship with your child’s possibly long-term friend, you’re also considering them for your partner.

As we chatted, the topic of health came up. We talked about getting in shape and nutrition — which is weird, because she was slim and fit and I was three months postpartum with diastasis recti, a condition where your abdominal muscles separate after birth, Which leads to stubborn belly fat and a “pooch”. Getting rid of it can be difficult.

Between telling my kids to “put down that old candy wrapper” and “please only use good hands,” we were somehow able to hold a conversation together, and I learned he was a semipro football player. .

It was fascinating to me — I love knowing people’s stories, but at the same time, why does a 46-year-old playground mom regularly rub shoulders with a 24-year-old soccer player?

He told me his story: He didn’t take football as seriously as he wanted to when he was in high school, although he was good at it and it may have gotten him somewhere, and now he’s trying to re-engage. Was doing his dream.

we became friends

We talked about the benefits of beetroot and other health tips and we bonded. We made plans for playdates and told each other about where we lived and our partners if they’d meet one day.

Meanwhile, his 3-year-old and my 6-year-old had become best friends the moment they saw each other. They were attracted to each other’s high energy and willingness to follow each other everywhere. They used to laugh and shout happily at every little thing. Almost without words, they became as close as they could be.

While I’d rather sit and write at my airy backyard patio table, my friend prefers to slam into other grown men and catch and pass footballs. He told me he works out every day and is working to bulk up, while I try to work out as little as possible but dream big. My favorite exercise is running while his is running. Somehow, it works.

If you find yourself looking for a friend, I suggest you at least expect to find them – they’re always there.

Jessica Delfino is a multi-hyphenate creative. She is a show runner, a creative lead, a social-media content creator, a mom, and the host of “The Mom Report” on Pocono 96.7 FM.

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