I remember a time when I was quite the social butterfly. I was drunk a lot, mind you…but still, I was social. I did things. I had a large group of friends that I constantly hung out with and always felt like I belonged, because I did. I did belong. I was invited to every function, even last minute random ones.
Then…I met someone and fell in love, got knocked up (accidentally; but the best accident ever), and…well. Everything changed. Most of those changes were good and positive. I grew up (as in, matured…a lot). I discovered a better sense of self. I became more responsible and less…well, careless.But I also drifted away from several of my friends. This started happening when I told them I was pregnant. Many didn’t understand how I could let that happen, or why I’d want to go through with it. This is the time of our lives
, I’m sure they thought. A time for drinking too much, staying up too late, making terrible decisions, and traveling. It’s a time centered around your friends and the beginning of your future, when you can still be reckless and indecisive about life. It’s harder to do those things when you have a baby to worry about, you’ve got to get your shit together quickly and you don’t really have time to dance your way through mistakes and have careless fun. Babysitters are hard to come by, they can be expensive, and the hangover is rarely worth it when you’ve got itty-bitty people to take care of.
I tried to stay in touch with most of them, but it was hard. Those friends didn’t want to think or worry about responsibilities, they didn’t want the reminder that one day…they’d have to grow up and leave the careless free fall behind them, as I already had.
I watched those friends go on to live like unattached 20-somethings do. Partying, traveling, sushi dates and bar nights…and I sat at home with my beautiful baby boy in my arms, reflecting upon the knowledge that my life had changed and it was both beautiful and wonderful and yet…isolating and lonely, sad even. I felt a small ache in my heart at being left behind by those people I once felt so close to and accepted by. Or perhaps, more accurately, at fast-forwarding through all those parts. The partying, the carelessness, the mistake-making, the relationships centered around friendships because there is nobody else you’d rather spend time with, when you’re 20-something. I missed that, because I found love early and I had a baby sooner than most. And there’s nothing wrong with that, and some people are lucky enough to have it all…I just wasn’t one of them, at least not with those friends.
I grew up watching episodes of Friends every night before bed. Oh how I loved that show! I loved to day dream about being an “adult”, about living in an apartment like Monica’s with the purple door and having my friends as roommates. I thought I would always have those friends, that they would welcome anyone I added in with warmth and be known as “aunt” or “uncle” to my kids because we would remain that close.I didn’t expect to physically feel the distance between us when we occasionally run into each other, even now. I didn’t expect them to never come around to meet my babies, to go forever without talking to me unless it’s a quick “hey, how’s it going”, or worse…an occasional photo like on Instagram. A not so subtle “yeah, that’s cool…but I’m too preoccupied enjoying my freedom to even say hello on social media.”
But then…I always knew that I couldn’t expect their lives to change because mine had. I knew it and I accepted it, but it didn’t make the ache hurt any less, it doesn’t make me feel any better even now…years later…when I awkwardly try to catch up with people who were my friends who are not yet at the same point in life as me. They still don’t know how to interact with me, a married mom of two. Some of them do, and I’m so so thankful for those people. The people who get it, even if they’re not at the same place as me. The people that don’t make me feel terrible for forgetting about a wine date, who make wine date plans with me.
I know I’ve changed from the person I was before I met Matt and became a mom, but I’d like to think I’m even better than I was then. I can still have fun, and sure…my life is chaotic and hectic, but I’m still worth knowing, and my kids are definitely worth knowing. Definitely.
I no longer let the dull ache get me down, at least not to the point I used to. I am content in the knowledge that not everybody is worth keeping in your life, despite how close you used to be…you can’t hold on to wisps of friendships past.
I am thankful for the memories, and happy with the people who have stayed in my life and who consistently try to be an active part of it now.