I am hardly what you’d call a ‘popular’ person. This could be based on the fact that I dressed up as a wizard for the last three Harry Potter movies in theater. Or because I enjoy having lively debates about literary classics (spoiler: our lives our about to become Brave New World). Or because the most fun I’ve had in months was watching The Emperor’s New Groove by myself while my husband was sleeping. I’d consider myself under the category of “friendly”, and perhaps even “outgoing”- but I’ve never been the type of person to have a million BFFs. Lately in my stay-at-home, work-occasionally life, I’ve been painfully aware of it. Brady can only hold a conversation for so long before he throws some kind of food at me and cackles viciously, which hurts my feelings a little.
In high school, it’s easy to have friends. You gravitate towards people with similar interests: people in marching band, people in Spanish class, and so on. In college, generally friends are the people you spend your time with- for me, it was my roommates and the girls who were education majors that I had many classes with. Once the connection is there, it’s easy to maintain.
But once you’re in a totally different phase of life? Not the same story.
It suddenly takes effort, and time, to cultivate your relationships. This is true for anyone, but is especially complicated when you have your own family. Balancing the mother-wife-daughter-sister-friend scale suddenly becomes overwhelming, with scales always tipping in someone’s favor and away from someone else. I’m a great wife, a good mom, an okay daughter, and a horrible friend. Or I’m a great friend and sister but an awful wife and a lacking mother. Thinking of it as a weighted scale makes it clear: not all the roles are going to be equal. I have a commitment to raising a family and it’s so important to me that I don’t screw it up. I have friends who really get that, and understand when it’s sometimes days later before I get back to them through a text message (if I haven’t forgotten about it entirely). But I don’t accurately show them how much I need them.
There is a montage of memories in my brain of me telling my friends that I was pregnant and their reaction (I won’t tell you what song it’s set to…). Every time, I prepared myself for the worst- an eye roll, and “are you serious”, a judgmental stare. And yes, some of them reacted that way. But my other friends smiled, laughed, and cried. Some gave me words of encouragement, others just gave me a hug. They acted excited, and if they felt shocked or disappointed, hid it from me with a smile and a joke. These friends visited me when I was too pregnant (fat) to have motivation to do anything, texted me to ask how I was doing. They came to see me in the hospital. They drove out of their way at inconvenient times to stop in and say hi. They send me movie quotes, or other little jokes that brighten my day. They patiently listen to me vent about my husband’s dirty socks (I could write a whole blog post about it) and Brady’s bad moods. And sometimes… they’re just there for me.
So right now, friends really old and really new, friends who bother to keep up with my blog, I want to tip the scales in your favor. Thank you for being you. Although I’m still trying to figure out how to be the best Mother-Wife-Friend-Daughter-Sister I can be, I would not be able to balance life without you.