I used to have a best friend. Not too long ago, in fact. She was somebody who I could call no matter what, somebody who I shared everything with and somebody who got me. This last part was kind of a big deal. See, I have a confession to make: I don’t have a ton of friends. I’ve always found it hard to open up and people generally make me a bit uncomfortable. It’s not that I don’t want friends, it’s just that I’ve never really figured out how to make them. I’m too shy to really make an effort and I usually feel that people just wouldn’t be that interested anyway. I have quite a few casual friends; y’know, like Facebook friends (yes, I’ll “like” your status update…sure, I’ll comment on your family photos…) or people I see in groups when somebody’s having a birthday get-together or that kind of thing. But true friends? Not so much.
Anyway, back to this best friend. We were carefree single girls in NYC – going on trips together to places like London and Paris, doing a summer share at the beach together, even getting accidentally high together (be warned: if somebody jokes about serving “hash cookies”, that may not be a joke. oh, and don’t eat 5 of them.). When she had trouble with her boyfriend, we’d commiserate together; when I had trouble with the guy who eventually became my husband, she’d talk me out of my funk without completely ragging on him – something most people couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Eventually, her relationship fell apart while mine was getting stronger. Can you sense where this story is going? Well, I’ll give you the brief summary: I got married and had a baby, she moved to a different city. Nothing has been the same since.
It wasn’t sudden, more like a gradual shift away from what we had always been. I understand that some of this is inevitable. Life changes, priorities shift – especially with a baby. When you’re single, you don’t really want to hear about changing diapers or teething…it’s just not interesting. When you’re married with a kid, as much as you may want to live vicariously through your fun single friends, after a while, that life starts to feel like a distant memory; one that you may not be able to understand anymore. And as hard as I tried to keep up with her, I felt like she was leaving me behind. The emails got fewer and farther between; when asked about what was going on with her, the details got pared down to the most basic of facts rather than the feelings and the experiences. Nothing seemed to be shared between us anymore.
Right after I got married I was proud that while I loved my husband immensely, I didn’t consider him my best friend. I never wanted to be one of those women who didn’t have much of a life beyond being in “a couple”. But my best friend drifted away from me and that makes me really sad. I miss her and I guess I feel that there’s a divide between us that may be too big to be bridged. If we had some big blowout fight, I think that’s something we could get past. Apologize, make amends, get through it. But there wasn’t any big disagreement or misunderstanding. There was just…life.
As for my daughter- the most important person in my life – she’s only met her once. She visited me a few days after Peanut was born but I have to admit that I was too tired and emotional to really spend any time with her or even appreciate her visit. I wish I could’ve made it clearer how much it meant to me that she drove 5 hours to come see me and how badly I felt asking her not to stay overnight because I was a strange combination of sad, scared and just overwhelmed. I sent her an invitation to my daughter’s first birthday party and was really hoping she would come but she didn’t. Instead, the next day she was on a flight to the Caribbean, off to an adults-only resort. I don’t mean to sound bitter or jealous, though I admit to having a certain amount of envy at her ability to just book a spur of the moment vacation. Really, there are few things in life I want more than for her to be happy. I just miss her and wish that we had the closeness that was once there.
So, here I am: I have an amazing husband and daughter – I know that I am truly blessed. But there are times that I’m really lonely. The kind of lonely that only a female friendship can fix. You know, the kind of lonely that is magically cured after a girl’s night out with sangria and cupcakes, gossip and laughter. And I have no idea how somebody like me -well into adulthood and a bit shy and insecure- goes about making new friends. Anybody have any suggestions? Or better yet, anybody want to meet up for some sangria and cupcakes?