Last week, I was cleaning my attic when I found a box of pictures of us. Old pictures. High school pictures. Pictures from a lifetime ago.
Of course, I immediately became nostalgic. I sat in the cold crawl space above my bedroom and lamented the days when life was easier. When everything was more laid back and carefree. But I also found myself feeling discouraged as I looked at the faces in those pictures. Your faces — the guys and girls who stood beside me “back in the day”. Because you weren’t just good people; you were great people.
You still are.
Maybe this all sounds a little sappy or dramatic. I mean, who the hell laments pimples and bad haircuts and lame house parties, especially while flipping through a faded pile of film? Especially at 9 o’clock on a Monday freakin’ night?
But the truth is, when the chaos in my life stops — when the laundry is folded, the dishes are done, the emails have been sent, and my kiddo has been put to bed — I think of you. I think of us.
Because while we shared good times and bad times, I miss them all, equally.
I miss the way things were.
But life happened, and we grew up. My life took a different path: I got married and had a kid, and you got cool jobs in tech and finance and moved to LA.
Parenthood, at least so far, just hasn’t been part of your plan. And that’s okay. But like it or not, our different paths have changed the dynamics of our friendship.
You’re planning hiking trips through the Sonoran desert and I’m planning yet another trip to Sesame Place. You’re binge-watching the latest season of Game of Thrones and I’m … passed out by 9, TBH.
But if I’m being honest, these differences in where we’re at are what I love most about us. They’re what keep you you and make me me. They are what make us interesting. But I am sorry for the way these differences have changed our friendship. And most of all, I’m sorry I suck at this whole “staying connected” thing.
I promise I’m trying — really.
Make no mistake: I love my daughter, and my “mommy friends.” In fact, I’ve met many smart and strong women because of motherhood, and if it weren’t for my daughter, they wouldn’t be in my life. But some of these friendships feel superficial because, aside from parenting, we don’t actually have a whole lot in common. We talk about three things: their kids, my kids, and the state of public education.
But you? You knew me when I was an N’SYNC fan and, more specifically, a Justin Timberlake fan. You knew me when I was a Linkin Park fan, and a bad poetry fan. You knew me when I was a band geek and a theater “nerd.” When I wore black lipstick and sported an entire wardrobe sourced from Hot Topic. And because of all this, you might just know me better than anyone else.
You stuck around through high school drama, marriage drama, and babies, because we had — and continue to have — other things in common, too. Because our friendship is rooted in honesty, history, openness, and candor.
And I need that. I need you.
So please know that I’m sorry if I seem distracted or disinterested lately. And I’m sorry if I am sometimes distant. Know that my frantic insanity and constant forgetfulness isn’t a reflection of you or my feelings toward our friendship. It’s a reflection of me: a woman and a mom who is still trying to find her footing in this new life.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not listening, and it doesn’t mean I don’t care. Because I do. I really, really do. It just may take me a little while longer to get this parenting thing down, before I can get back to your text right away. Or meet for drinks on a whim. Or devote an entire hour or two to catching up over the phone.
But I sure hope you’ll wait for me while I catch up.