Class of 2015 Graduates
Some of the First “Connect the Tots”

Back in 1998 a group of parents in Reading were searching for a way to meet other parents with children the same age. We wanted to be able to get together as a group and have the children play while the parents talked about things that worried or concerned them. A small group of us met and we began to form play groups. We had about 5 or 6 groups to start. We met at each other’s homes and we planned outings.

There were 9 of us in our group to start…8 moms and one dad. In addition to me there was Diane, Sue, Kim, Jean, Andrea, Terry, Ellen and Roger. Between us we had 6 boys and 3 girls all aged 1 year.

This year, as my son Joe graduates from Reading Memorial High School and I get him ready for college in the Fall, I find myself thinking about the great times we had together with our “playgroup friends”. When we weren’t at someone’s house, we went to museums, apple picking, the beach, playgrounds, farms, ice skating and even ski lessons. We had some great adventures, and have many photos to show for it.

Early on, we realized how lucky we were with our “playgroup”, because soon it become so much more than that. The children enjoyed each other’s company, but more importantly, the parents became friends. We all seemed to have the same parenting beliefs and we didn’t experience the “drama” that you often hear about when you get different groups of people together. Although Ellen and Roger moved away, the others have stayed very close. Over the next few years our families grew – between us, we have a total of 16 children. We went out at night without the children and some of us even started Scrapbooking! I long for those days when I had the time to do that!

We live in different towns…only 2 of us are in Reading. The rest live in surrounding towns, one a little farther away. Our children have mostly lost touch with each other, with a few exceptions. However, the parents stay in touch by facebook and it’s been so great to watch their children grow. I am so grateful for the support and friendship of these women. We have all raised happy, healthy teenagers who are turning into mature and caring young adults. I wish them all the best and look forward to seeing what awaits them as they step out into the world.

For those of you that are just joining this incredible group – I wish the same for you and your family. Enjoy every minute with your children and take strength from your friends.

Laura DiBacco

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