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Friendship After Thirty

A friend who is balancing a baby, grad school and packing for a trip across the country that leaves tomorrow, was planning on coming over this afternoon, just to visit. Coffee, chatting, babies and kids playing. Very casual. I’m still in yoga pants.

Her husband messaged as we were expecting her, to let us know that he noticed she was in need of rest and suggested she nap instead of visit, but she was sorry to miss out on visiting.

I wanted to high five him through the messenger. Everyone should be so lucky to have a husband who encourages you to think of self-care, above making other people happy at the detriment of your own well being.

And, I need to know that the people in my life understand that friendship after children – after life starts to swallow you whole and you’re pulled in twenty different directions at any moment during the day – should not be a burden.

Don’t get me wrong, casual coffee conversations are fantastic for my sanity. Glasses of wine and sitting around the couch in pajamas with Jenny after the kids have gone to bed – a must. But, friendship and my needs and abilities to give my friendship, have changed over the past fifteen years.

At twenty, friendship meant being at my side. It was group coffee trips, it was group outings to movies, it was always having someone to walk with along the beach or late at night past the dark playground, where we would swing. Friendship then was needy, but it was a mutual neediness. We held to each other, because we were all in the same {terrifying} place. Friendship was safety, it was comfort at the precipice of the unknown adult world we were just about to step out into.

Today, friendship with most of those same people, is in emails or texts or Facebook comments. I only see them a handful of times in a year. Friendship is distant, but it’s a mutual distance. We hold to each other in thoughts and prayers, we hold to each other in two minute emails (in which we all often add an apology for our babbling) because we know that each others time is precious. But we also all know that the places in each other’s life and hearts is secure, and those rare face to face visits are worth every long month between.

Friendship in my thirties, is hopeful that those I care about understand that my life is crazy and my time is limited, because their lives are crazy and their time is limited too. Because, we’re all in survival mode here, between kids and careers, and the daily figuring out what it means to be a responsible adult {who still maybe hasn’t fully given up on her youthful dreams of creativity or world changing…}

The desire to be in twelve places at once, to have a dozen sets of ears to listen to everyone’s life stories, to have unlimited resources to give – it’s powerful. I want to be everywhere I’m wanted. I want to do everything that needs to be done.

But the reality is, I am limited and terrible at the follow through of calendar plans.

I’m in a stage of life where kids always get sick, cars breakdown, babysitting falls through. I’m at a stage of life where work has to come before play. Where free-time is at midnight and getting out for a jog in the sun is a luxury that can somehow like I’m cheating someone else out of my time.

As though, they deserve that piece of me, more than I do.

Of course, I have a husband and friends who encourage self-care over feeling burdened. And, I feel as though, finally, I’m getting it myself.

The guilt of letting down someone you’ve cared for, can haunt. But, it’s a small thing and I can accept it for what it is. Just as I can accept myself for who I am. I am only one person. And that one person is a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a business owner, a writer, a teacher, a friend…and a very tired woman by the end of the day.

I’m a person who is so very grateful for those in her life, distant and close, who accept her, just as she is and expect nothing more.

I’m a person who thinks it’s okay to stay in, just because. It’s good to rest, even if you had thought two days ago that you’d be up for coffee and conversations in yoga pants.

Or, at least, it’s okay by me. {And if it’s okay by you too, let’s be friends.}

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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.

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