Before becoming a mother, I knew that my friendship structure would Change. I also knew that I would make NEW friends - friends that I call my Mommy Friends since we specifically meet and hang out because we have children so close in age - we have enough in common to want to see each other, but in reality, are hanging out because of our kids. Along the way of Mommy Blogging, I made even more new friends (just to name a few. A very few.) As a Sweet Bonus, I didn’t plan on resurrecting OLD friendships - such as R, and that has been such a cool surprise - we already knew we had loads in common and similar idealogies - having babies so close in age was simply the Icing.
Over the years, I have went through more friends than Tommy Lee has gone through tattoo artists. However, several are notable. My Childhood Best Friend drifted away when her marriage went up in a spectacular ball of fire after she left her husband for her AOL LoverBoy. I actually had to Fire a Work Friend after all the negative comments she kept making- the pinnacle being when she whined “Oh, you’re going to get married before me!” when she discovered I had a new boyfriend. That was in 1999 - last I heard, she is still “single and bitter with baggage, seeking same”. Most recently, I Lost a College Friend who pretty much had nothing to do with me after I was in her wedding in May 2005. She dropped off the planet - I saw her once or twice that entire summer. She blew off my baby shower and didn’t acknowledge Arun’s birth. Then, to make things super-gooeylicious and awkward, she miscarried her own baby just a week after Arun was born. X was out of town and I was alone - so I dragged Arun and myself to a flower store because I wanted to personally pick out something AND in particular, I wanted to personally send a card saying that I understood that she would need time and that I would be there for her when she was ready. I will never forget how physically painful it was to get in and out of the car dragging Arun around, but I wanted it all to be from ME, not my computer. However, save for one voicemail, which I returned, I haven’t heard from her since. I am still pretty hurt by that, particularly considering that my friend J who lost her husband in January hasn’t Fired ME just because I have still have a husband and she doesn’t anymore. Not to sound harsh, but I still have dreams about my College Friend and it still hurts.
However, none of the stupid baby books warn you that having a baby CHANGES your friendships. Now that I DO have a kid, I do feel some of my friendships taking on different flavors. For my friends WITH children, having kids that interact WITH each other certainly adds a new dimension. I have to be careful of the awkwardness that arises when they have children that are pretty aggressive. I also have to be sensitive to different parenting styles and I DO try to keep judgements to myself, but DAMN! its hard when you are just trying to protect your sweet boy's eyeballs. Then, there are the Friends With Kids that I am closer to than ever before - our friendship has transcended a new level built solidly on Common Fears, Hopes and Dreams. Conversely, I have to be cognizant of my friends WITHOUT children - they probably don’t want to hear the nitty gritty of Diaper Details and despite their polite nods, they probably really don't care that Arun is getting pretty fucking good with the fine motor skills and seriously? They probably aren't interested in hearing he is OBSESSED with climbing the stairs. However, most importantly, it might be harder for them to understand if I have to cancel plans at the last minute or when I don’t respond to emails promptly. Friends With Kids?? ALWAYS understand Doing Things On The Fly. (Average Jane , I salute you, the most understanding of my NonKid Friends!)
But, of all these friends, I think the ones that affect me most are the ones that simply Slip Through My Fingers. There is a reason why I have become a more diligent blogger AFTER becoming a mother. I have so many Real Life friends reading this blog now, that I know keeping up on the blog helps with the friendship. On the rare occasion we meet up via lunch, phone or email, they already know what is going on and we can focus on the Most Recent instead of the What's Happened (I’m talkin’ ‘bout YOU -- M and T!) But the friends who DON’T read my blog? The ones I haven't emailed, phoned or even SEEN since Arun was born? Those are the ones that I regret.
I wish I had a new paragraph for you, full of Valid Excuses why friends are Slipping Through My Fingers and how I Am Going to Rectify It, but I don't and I can't. These days, I am just not able to be there for my friends like I used to be pre-Arun when My Time was 100% under MY control. A part of me is sad to realize this, but a part of me has accepted that this is simply what happens when you sign for this Gig.
It is what it is.