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Friday, July 17, 2009

The cycle of friendship

I used to struggle with the end of friendships. I would get sad that someone had left my life and wonder if I had done something different, been someone different they would have stayed. I thought the ending was all about me. Maybe it was sometimes. But sometimes people just lose touch. Sometimes people chose to leave you. Sometimes you are the one walking away.

The older I get the more I am willing to let friendships end. I don't feel the need to hold on to them just because. Because once upon a time we were young together or went to school together or hung out together. I figure that who I am now and who I was then are not the same. I am thankful when my friends change in ways that are compatible with the new me. If they don't, I silently thank them for the time we have had together and open my life to be filled with new friends.

Becoming a parent has changed many of my friendships. After the girl was born I didn't have a lot of time or energy to invest in other people. I was too busy figuring out what I was doing to look beyond the baby in my arms. People had to be happy with a quick email or occasional phone call. Some were, some weren't. It made me realize that some friendships were based on my giving and their taking (a bad habit I will admit to). With a whole new world in front of me I came to realize those were not the people I wanted sharing in this new life with me. We said goodbye.

In their place I found new friends, other parents with similar approaches to parenting and values. They and their kids helped me learn about the kind of mother I want to be. With my second pregnancy I found it hard to keep in touch with many of these friends. Not because I didn't enjoy them or want to be around them but because work, my pregnancy and family took precedent over any friendship. At the end of the day any time I had was spent with the girl, the husband and myself.

Since the birth of the boy I have slowly been building friendships, reaching out to old friends and making new ones. At first my friendships were based on location. If you went to the park, our playgroup or the girl's school then I would be happy to see you and excited to visit. For the first few months that was enough. Then I began to schedule monthly dinners or play dates with friends I didn't end up running into. We would mark it in our calendars and not think about it again until the date rolled around.

It feels good to reconnect with people. To unravel myself from the cocoon I lived in during my pregnancy and those first few months with the boy. To rediscover myself in these new and old friendships.

I know that with good friends it doesn't matter if you lose touch. It can be two months or two years since you have last seen each other. With good friends you could have changed or not changed, but you will both just pick up where you left off. There is no because with these friendships. There is just you and the friend together at the park with your kids and her kid, playing in the sand and splashing in the pool (except the boy who still hates the water). And if she happens to tell you that the girl is very well behaved even though the girl screamed during lunch when you tired to cut her watermelon and looks like a zombie since she has been awake since 5am then you know she is really a good friend. One you shouldn't let go.

5 comments:

  1. I think it's brave that you have been able to consciously let go of some old friendships that were based on a history together. I have found it hard, but have also found that becoming a parent has facilitated that process. We have to evolve and let our social lives evolve with the rest of our lives. Thanks for writing about it!

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  2. Hi, I'm visiting from Follow Me Club1. Great blog.

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  3. It's never an easy thing is it. But I have managed to do it myself. Though there are a couple that I really should let go, but think that since i have known them for so long, it's not the "right" thing to do.

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  4. I blogged about losing a friend too. It hurts. A lot.

    It's hard to let go too. Writing it helps. Thanks for helping me feel like it isn't just me.

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  5. So wise, and so true. I learned a long time ago how and when to let friends go. It was kinda self-preservation for me, being in the Air Force and moving from place to place. It is always hard to say good-bye, but after time, when you don't think about them as much, you realize that it must have been a friendship for that time and place. You are right about the "true" friendships that can lapse for 2 years and still pick up where you left off! :D

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