New Mama Musings

Monday, June 09, 2008

Friendships Past and Present

"It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter."
-- Marlene Dietrich

I need friends.

Okay, I have friends. Good ones.

But back in the day I had peeps, homies, or whatever kids are calling them these days. Friends I could call up and ask, "What are you doing?" Friends who would come over just because I was bored. Friends I could share a carton of Ben & Jerry's with.

In a lot of ways my husband fills that role for me now. I read an essay in a recent issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (I know, I know) by a woman who finds it pathetic when a woman calls her husband her best friend.

I don't think it is. In fact, I think it's kind of sad when someone conveys that status on anyone other than their spouse.

I mean, c'mon, the man saw me give birth.

That being said, I do miss having girlfriends (though I had just as many male friends, back in the day).

Yes, I do have some. But as much as I love these women, I never feel like I can call them up just to talk about nothing. Because I'm bored. Or having a bad day. Or saw something in the paper that ticked me off.

And when we get together we e-mail and set something up a week or two in advance. While possibly necessary, making plans this way seems so...formal. So detached. So planned.

Is this just how things evolve once lives become complicated by marriages, mortgages and children?

Or is it me? My former friendships fell away after my husband and I got together under seemingly inappropriate circumstances. People in our circle were quick to jump to (false) conclusions.

I had one close friend literally turn her back on me -- which, by the way, sucks as much as you might think.

After that I was loathe to trust anyone with my friendship again, and it took me a while to cultivate the relationships I have now. Combine that with my reserved nature and I guess I just explained my own predicament. But how do I rectify this?

I've been thinking more about this topic lately because I recently reconnected with someone from way back when. She moved away soon after my now-husband and I started seeing one another, so I was never sure whether she was the judge-y sort or if we merely lost track of one another.

When we moved to this community over a year ago I found out that she was living here too, was a stay-at-home mom like me, and that one of her children was also born in 2005 and named Henry.

I e-mailed her but never heard back, so I figured she was thinking, "Oh crap, leave me alone." Or something like that. (Yes, I have issues.)

Last week it finally happened: I ran into her at the local library. I swear she turned to the woman she was with and said something about me, and that when she finally came over to talk she had a deer-stuck-in-headlights look, but she made polite conversation and even said something about getting together.

Which I promptly dismissed as something she felt she had to say.

But then she actually e-mailed me along with a mutual friend who also lives here, and the three of us and our six kids got together this morning at Starbucks. It was all normal-feeling and nice, and we went our separate ways saying we'd do it again, but here's the thing: I want more. I want to be friends again, not just acquaintances.

Is that wrong? Am I just nostalgic for a more carefree period in my life? Are things simply different now?

And how do I know when to pursue a friendship and when I'm veering dangerously close to a version of He's Just Not That Into You?

3 Comments:

  • *hugs* I wish we lived closer ...cyg

    By Anonymous gearhead mama, at 4:08 PM  

  • Oops, somehow it caught some of the word verification at the end of my comment!

    By Anonymous gearhead mama, at 4:10 PM  

  • kay! i did read the follow up post to this but wanted to comment anyway. i LOVE love love my friends that i call at random and when asked: what's up? i reply: nothing! and we proceed to talk about breakfast and food and the day for a half hour before one of us hangs up abruptly without saying goodbye really, when their kid screams in another room.
    the thing is, is that i really don't get together with them much, although i do consider these 2 mommas my 2 local bff's. we have a super relaxed, very close friendship, and i love it. it's the BEST. i don't have much time in life right now outside of doing the little bit of unstructured home "pre"schooling that i do along with 50+ hhours of work per week and then family time, but THOSE PHONE CALLS fill my friendship needs every time. i see them maybe once every 2 or 3 months (it's so pathetic but somehow is great) and when we get together it's FUN. but the phone calls are really the best.

    all this to say: we live a little bit far away (more than 10 minutes is far in my book) but on my days home, i love to talk on the phone about nothing, to gossip about friends and family, etc.

    you can call any time.

    and i haven't ggotten to that post yet but i am sorry to hear that your father has passed. :(
    allie

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:29 PM  

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