Life has a funny ways of turning things upside down. Growing up, I was surrounded by family and friends. As a Pastor’s kid there were always meetings and social events and church picnics to attend. My parents’ friends had kids, which meant I had playmates almost everywhere we went. In fact, I never really had to “make” a friend until I was in my 20’s. My friends were simply built into my life. Easy peasy.
College was also relatively easy (aside from the so-called “relationships”). I joined a very small sorority and had a core group of built-in friends. There were also a few people I worked with and my room-mates who were friends from church. I had people. We had each other, and I am still friends with many of them, albeit from a distance.
And then I got married. I found ‘the one’ and we wanted to bask in that amazing life change. We could breathe. We enjoyed each other. We were in love. And we still are. We focused inward and that was (and is) a good thing. But something had to give. Of course one, and now two children later, my friendships are relegated to passing tweets and facebook likes on cute photos. We keep up with each other online because somewhere in our day we can make a pass at a computer. But making a plan that may take one or two hours of interacting is much more daunting. And when there are one or two free hours, I just want to be left alone.
But then I lie awake at night and trace back the pattern of my years of focusing on my boys and my husband and my personal well-being and I see little cracks in my friendship walls. I understand, they say, it’s crazy for all of us. And it is. Crazy. For all of us.
Still, I miss my friends.
So I am here in this place where I long for the types of friendships where we can pop in to chat or meet for coffee. I want to be the friend who calls to check in and can pick up your kids if you are sick. I say that I am that friend, but I am stuck behind these walls of time where I have excuse after excuse to keep everyone at arm’s length. Some kind of protection I am sure.
Our church community group ended in June and the summer sent everyone in different directions so I think that I am really feeling the distance. I found a couple more groups that are close to our house that we might try. But getting to know people in my 30s seems harder than ever.
Starting over is never easy.
In the same way that I want to be a certain kind of wife or mother, I long to have quality friends in my life that complete the village that surrounds my family. But in order to get this, I have to give of myself and this seems much harder than it used to. Is everyone this anxious? Why do I feel like I am dating all over again? Or am I just being totally unrealistic with this expectation of camaraderie and bake sales?
Just know that if you are my friend and I am weird, it’s not you. It’s me.