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The Road To Friendship Is Paved With Chocolate Chips

I’m a pretty big extrovert and can
make steady conversation with a tree stump, but I confess
I’ve been nervous for a while about finding some good
girlfriends here. While I know there will be people in the area
with children similar in ages to my kids, a good friendship goes
way beyond “How old are your kids?” And while
it’s helpful to find someone with similar opinions on issues
such as breastfeeding and discipline, add things like common
interests and a similar sense of humor and suddenly you’ve
got a list that no one person can hope to fill.

My first week here left me worrying
I’d ever find other families to connect with; I felt as if
I’d waved a flag every morning at the community playground
that said, “Come play with me!” and had no response
whatsoever. But my neighbors have gradually begun to come out of
the woodwork, and I see there’s hope yet.

A few days ago a neighbor on my block marched over with a plate of
chocolate-chip cookies. Not only was the plate of cookies probably
the absolute best thing she could ever have brought me, but she
thoughtfully wrote down all her contact information as well as the
names and ages of all her kids. We spent a few moments chatting on
the front step and I glimpsed a quick wit and ready laugh, even as
she cheerfully talked down my street and filled me in on all the
families around me.

The next day I called her back looking for a restaurant
recommendation and ended up inviting her over for snacks over the
weekend. She and her husband strolled over yesterday and we spent a
nice hour in the back yard (70 degrees! God bless Texas!) nibbling
croissants from a local bakery and getting the dish on how things
are done in this community.

Our little croissant snack-a-thon came directly on the heels of a
loaf of bread arriving from a family we’d just met that
morning at church; they knew we were new to the area and brought us
a friendly “welcome” loaf, no strings attached. And I
am struck by how much we use food as a way to initiate
relationships with others.

Part of it, of course, is the hospitality angle; neighbors are
being “good hosts” by providing for the newcomers to
the area. But I think about how much food is a part of any big life
event: whether it’s moving to a new home or a death in a
family or a celebration of something big, people seem to want to
nurture or participate with cookies or casseroles. Food is a way of
saying something without words, whether that something is
“Sorry for your loss” or “Welcome to the

And I think, too, that food is a big thing for moms – for
many women, gift-giving is a big love language of ours, and giving
a gift of food means we’re giving a part of ourselves,
something we made with our hands, and something we can use to
nourish those who receive our gifts. Finally, giving a gift of food
is a delicate way of reaching out without committing: it's saying,
"Here's something you can use, and it's a chance for you to check
me out and see if I'm worth getting to know." Am I reading too
much into it? I know I love baking every year for Christmas, and
when someone loves my cookies I feel much warmer inside than when
someone loves a sweater I picked out for them.

Perhaps I’m drawn to people who give me cookies because I
like to bake as well; perhaps it’s because we’re always
ready to like someone who likes us first; and perhaps I just like
people who give me treats. Whatever the case, I appreciate the food
and know I’ll make an effort to seek those two women out.

Make that three women: another neighbor just brought a plate of
chocolate-chip cookies over, also with her contact info and
kids’ names. Since she has a daughter just a year older than
Maddie, this one has serious potential.

I guess the word’s out that I can be bought with cookies.


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