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Singalong with baby shows I'm out of tune

I'D NORMALLY need a few before even considering singing songs with a bunch of people I've never met. So when a pal suggested I join her for a mother and toddler singing session at the local community centre, I thought she was pulling my leg.

"It's good fun," my friend explained. "The ladies are great craic and it's a good way of making friends."

I had to decline. At the time I had a million and one things to do and making new friends was way down the list of priorities. I mean, just because I'm a mum doesn't particularly make me feel like hooking up with a host of other mums so that we can all chat about our kids.

I have friends already. In fact there are so many friends that I would love to meet up with, only life always seems to get in the way. Every year I write Christmas cards to the same people insisting that this year we really must meet up again and then it never seems to happen.

People move on. They move jobs, get married and have kids. The people who you used to love clubbing with no longer interest you as they Facebook message you about yet another Sunday hangover.

People from your old office call you excitedly to tell you that so-and-so and so-and-so from work got it together and you rack your brains as you struggle with a mountain of ironing, wondering who on earth your old colleague is even talking about!

Tearful

Every time I've ever left a workplace there has been a leaving do, with everybody becoming a little tearful in the pub later on, promising to keep in touch no matter what. But they don't. And neither do you, apart from the odd email in the weeks that follow your departure.

It's nothing personal, it's just that people you work with are not necessarily folk you would normally be friends with. You become friendly with people at work because while you share the same employer, you'll never run out of things to say to each other in the canteen or during after-work drinks. But once you leave, you just don't care who got promoted, or hitched, or transferred to a different department.

I think I make a big effort to keep in touch with people. Before the internet I'd spend a great deal of time writing letters and phoning people. Facebook has saved me a lot of time and stamp money. But getting a Facebook message is still nowhere near as exciting or memorable as receiving a handwritten letter from somebody.

I've also gone to extraordinary lengths to try and find somebody who has gone missing from my life. There is a girl called Anita who I worked with and never heard of again after she moved, and a guy called Paul who I went to college with.

I often wonder how I managed to completely lose contact with them. I guess I like to know what people are up to even after 20 years! But as for singing with a bunch of strange mums over coffee? I'm glad I gave that a miss. Can you imagine dads doing anything that random? I think not.

Marisa is the author of Along Came A Stork


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