For years, my brothers and I have teased my mother about not being able to go anywhere in our small(ish) town without running into a half-dozen people she knows. Now that our town has turned into a sprawling suburb and our mother has spent the past few decades in the same spot it has only gotten worse.

But tonight, at my son’s basketball practice, I came to a startling realization of my own: I’m becoming my mother.

Boys from the Toledo JCC basketball team chasing after ball
Flickr Commons: American Jewish Historical Society

Two teams practice in each hour slot. On my son’s team, there are two boys from his current second-grade class, one of whom he also went to preschool with. He’s been to the birthday party of one and the other has been to my son’s birthday party. I know both of their mothers.

The coach for the other team was my son’s 4-year old soccer coach. His son was also on my son’s second-grade soccer team this past fall. On that team, there’s a another boy from the same soccer team. His mom was the soccer team mom, and she was there watching the basketball practice. Plus, there was a boy who was on both my son’s kindergarten and first-grade lacrosse teams, with his dad there watching the practice.

And then of course, I know all ten kids on my son’s team and their various parents from being stuck in a gym with them twice a week for basketball practices and games for well over a month now.

This is the tangled web suburbia weaves.

In a small elementary school gym, filled with maybe 35 people, representing kids pooled from four different elementary schools, I knew over half of them. And I’ve only lived here for a little over two years!

It’s just going to get worse.