Stop Saying ‘It’s Not That Big Of A Deal’

You Can Grieve Whatever You’re Grieving, However Small. It Doesn’t Make You Solipsistic.

Sophie Lucido Johnson


Two weeks ago, I attempted to throw a party. Well, “party” isn’t really the right word. I had what I thought was a brilliant idea: I’d invite new parents to my house during a window of time that babies usually aren’t napping on a Saturday, I’d get huge bins and label them with baby-clothes size ranges, and everyone could come and bring their babies and the clothes their babies had grown out of, and we could all hang out and trade stuff. It was based on something in Portland my sister takes her kids to called Swapnplay: a community center basement filled with toys and tables so parents could let their kids play and get rid of old things while picking up new-to-them ones. We don’t have this in my neighborhood, but my baby is rapidly growing, and so: why not make it?

I know a lot of new parents. Pro tip: you can meet new parents pretty easily as they tend to come with an obvious tell (living baby). Meeting a new parent goes like this:

Here’s the amount of time new parents have to hang out with other new parents: zero minutes. And that’s also not true, because time in Baby Land is WEIRD. It exists, and it passes, and sometimes you’re incredibly bored, and you wish you were hanging out with a friend, but it is impossible to predict when those times will be, so there’s no planning for any of this. So I’ve met all these cool-seeming people and accumulated all these phone numbers, but I never actually hang out with any of them. Hence, the swap-and-play. I made sure to clarify that I intended for the swap-and-play to be “aggressively casual.” You didn’t even have to RSVP! “Just come if you can, and there will be another one every month, so it’s fine to miss it.” I invited too many people and stressed out about not having enough space or enough food. We spent a few days cleaning and reorganizing the living room, and I did a Target run for the plastic bins. I made a Good Housekeeping recipe for roasted pepper and walnut dip. I dressed my toddler in cute clothes (that one day she’d swap!), and waited.

And no one came.

Well, actually, my across-the-street neighbor Sean came with his son. He and his son are both…