Dear friend who is a mom:
I don’t know if you remember me, but I am your best friend since kindergarten, your sorority sister, your college roommate, your neighborhood pal, your bridesmaid, your sister. We used to talk all the time. We used to share everything. You have pictures of me that make me thank God there were no camera phones and Instagram when we were young. It has been a while. I know that you are a mom and you have more important obligations now, but I miss being a part of your life. I see photos of you with our other bestie and her kids posted on your Facebook page. I like them, of course, but in truth, it makes me a bit sad.
Have I done something to insult you? I know that I am over thirty and single with no children, but I didn’t think that you would shun me for that failure. Do you think I will endanger your kids? Did I not hold them right when you handed them to me shortly after their birth? Was I mean to them? Was I too harsh when I took away the object they picked up in my non-babyproofed house that I was afraid would hurt them?
I don’t understand. I was with you when you met your husband. We talked for countless hours about whether he would call you again and whether he was the one. When he finally proposed, we celebrated like we didn’t have to work the next day. Then, despite my hangover, I talked to you for hours about the venue and your dress and whether you should marry in the Church or on the beach. I bought and wore the $300 bridesmaid dress without complaint. I hosted a bridal shower in your honor. I stood at the alter with you. I held your dress as you peed. I lit a sparkler to send you off on your honeymoon and did not catch the place on fire.
You called me right after you called your parents when the stick showed pregnant. It was different from those times we sat together in the bathroom praying the stick would not say “pregnant.” You were happy and I was happy for you. I listened when you called me scared about what was happening. I know I didn’t have any more information than you did, but I meant it when I told you that I was there for you no matter what.
It was about that time that the calls started becoming less frequent. I thought it was because the pregnancy was making you tired. I planned your baby shower and made sure we did not play that awful game with the toilet paper around your waist. The food was as good as I always do. I got some strange looks from some people for the champagne punch but lots of thankful looks as well. I oo’ed and ahh’ed at every onesie and smocked item. I listened to the experienced mothers as they discussed the comfort of the breast pump you chose.
When little Anna was born, I came to the hospital. I was upset that your husband left me off the going into labor text. I assumed it was an oversight; you were in a high-stress situation after all. I held little Anna and cooed to her about the adventures she would have with her auntie.
Anna was born during my busy season, so I could not miss work to hang out and help you. I called as often as I could, but you were tired and distracted. I understood. You were a new mom, after all. I visited a few times but it felt like I was imposing. You hid yourself while you nursed despite the fact that I had put you to bed drunk more times than I could count and you had done the same for me.
You went back to work. I kept calling. Sometimes, I would catch you on your commute and you would talk to me for a few minutes. I asked about you and Anna and your hubby. You gave me the rundown and then would have to hang up because you had reached daycare or home. I understood.
I kept calling. Every fourth call, we would actually connect. I would ask about your life and you would spill your stresses. I hurt for you with every difficulty you expressed. I wanted to fix them all, but I couldn’t. I calculated whether I could make it possible for me to be your nanny or you to be a sahm. I couldn’t make either work. I told you to call me on those sleepless nights because my insomniac behavior from our college years had not changed despite the fact that I worked 12 hour days and was expected to answer email constantly. You never called. I know you were up because I saw your Facebook complaint the next day.
I kept calling, but you answered my calls more and more infrequently. You never called me. When we did talk, we talked about your struggles first and then Anna demanded your attention before I got to tell you about my life. I understood. You are a mom now, she comes first.
You invited me to her first birthday party. I came with a gift in tow. I knew almost no one there. It was all of Anna’s friends from daycare. All their moms were there and you knew them, of course. I was polite and socialized with the crowd, but I never got to talk to you. You were busy talking to the other moms.
I still call you. You rarely answer and you almost never call me back. Calling you feels like an intrusion. You have limited time and I don’t want to take away from what you have to give to Anna and your husband. You don’t invite me to cookouts anymore. You post pictures of “girls night out” with Anna’s friends’ moms. It makes me sad. I used to be part of your “girls night out” crew. I used to come to cookouts with a delicious dish in hand and two slightly intoxicated hands ready to clean when the party was done. I guess that I’m not good enough anymore.
I don’t understand what happened. I know that you are a mom and your limited free time needs to be focused on your kids. Why are you excluding me from girls night? Are you embarrassed to include me with your mom friends? I read every article that you post about child rearing. Do you think that I am too cold or too stupid to empathize with the moms?
I miss you. I am an older version of the me you knew in college. I have a good job. I’m not clubbing until 3 am five nights a week. I love Anna and want her to be a good woman. I am up to date on all of the current parenting issues. I try to be a good person. I am definitely not a pedophile or a child abuser. I will take whatever background check the other parents require. Why are you keeping me out of your group?
Yes, I am single, which means I “get” to do things like last minute weekend trips. I would much rather be cuddled on your couch watching some Disney show for the 200th time, folding laundry and visiting with you.
Instead, I drive home exhausted and call you. If you answer and can talk for a few minutes, we talk about your life. Mine isn’t interesting anyway.
When I stop by to visit, Anna doesn’t recognize me. I suppose it is my fault for not stopping by more often. Maybe I should not have respected your privacy and need for adjustment so much. Is it on me to just show up and intrude on your life uninvited? Was that my mistake? Is that how I lost you?
I miss you, my dear. I don’t want to intrude, so I have stopped calling. Maybe we will reconnect when your children are grown.
I miss you. I will deal with my struggles alone. As each child reaches adulthood, I will lose some of my isolation. I hope your mom friends love you as much as I do. Maybe I will become a mom one day. If I do, I hope that you will wait for me as I have been waiting for you.
In the meantime, let me know if you find room for me to be your friend again.
Your Non-Parent Bestie
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