Friends vs. Family

I was talking to my sister last night after the debate and I was struck with just how different our lives are these days. It wasn't that long ago that she and I had similar lives. We both had full-time jobs, offices, work numbers, salaries, sick-days, too few vacation days, boss issues, coworkers, and dozens of friends to keep in touch with and relationships to nurture. We may have also been in relationships or just having fun. There were also lots of parties, celebrations, weddings, and happy hours.

These days? Well, from my end of the telephone it certainly seems her life is very much the same, but with all the growing up you'd expect such as better job and relationships. She jets off frequently to spend time with various groups of close girlfriends (she was just in Boston this last weekend), goes over to friends' houses to make dinner and drink wine, and has coffee dates. Her boyfriend comes and stays with her a few days out of every week and they go out to dinner or spend time with friends.

She puts, what appears to me as, vast amounts of energy into her friends. She is a wonderful, giving, loving friend to all her friends all the time. No exceptions.

I barely see my best friend once a month... and she lives about a mile away.

I've set a goal to hand-write one letter a month to someone I care about. I set that two months ago and I did write my sister a note, but that's almost cheating because I talk to her weekly. She may actually be the person, besides Anthony and my mom, who I talk to the most regularly. The point of setting the goal was to keep in touch with those friends with whom I've lost touch.

I peruse my friends' MySpaces and Facebook profiles and they're all so connected to their friends. Even those friends with babies and kids. There is photo after photo of big friend gatherings and couple outtings. Anthony and I don't have any "couple-friends," nor do we run with a big crowd anymore.

I feel like we've moved into a weird twilight zone of adulthood. It's like we're all alone with millions of other parents with small children who can't hang with a disturbance in their routines, either. Hollis is easy, as I've said a hundred times already, but that's only if he gets his sleep. We can't drag him to dinner somewhere any time after 7 o'clock or he'll have a meltdown because he's so painfully tired. And who, besides senior citizens and parents of young children eat dinner before 7??

We've had to turn down countless invitations to do things in the past few months. I feel like a horrible friend, almost selfish because if I can't do it on "my" terms, then I can't go. It sucks and I don't mean to be such a pain in the ass or so damn unavailable, but there it is. I can't do a damn thing about it.

I think, too, that my feelings of isolation and guilt are exacerbated because I don't have any other friends with kids. Well, that's not true, my friend, Les, has twin girls 8 months older than Hollis, but she lives an hour away. And my other friends with babies live in California. The friends I have been able to see over the past year are, quite frankly, the sweetest people I've ever met. They never mind that I have weird socializing hours or always tell them, "Sorry, I can't make it because Hollis (fill in the blank)."

In any case, I'm sorry, everyone for being so invisible for the past year! I don't see it changing any time soon, either. - Yet another reason why people who get married and have kids, or just have kids together sans union, with a shitty base of a relationship so often split up at this time in their lives. This is not easy! Wondrous, soulful, fulfilling, ephemeral? Yes. Easy? No.

Now's the time to circle my wagons, so to speak, and focus on my marriage and my young son. This is when I feed my family (and that includes me) with love, commitment, and sensitivity so as to set up a successful pattern for years to come. I'm putting so much love and energy into my family (MY family) that I'm left with virtually nothing left give.

But I still miss my friends... a lot.


  1. I don't have kids, but feel similarly because I am so set into my own routine. Having a job with a 60 to 90 minute commute and two dogs can really get in the way of having a social life. My social life exists merely on weekends. But, I'm happy with the life I've built and wouldn't trade it for anything. Okay, maybe for some extra money to pay for dog walkers. :)

    Just remember that family is worth the time and commitment you make to them, and that true friends will understand.

  2. First of all, don't mistake the time-wasting and inane facebook fodder for "really connected" with friends. :P

    And not that it sounds like you are pining away for greener social pastures, but it does sound like you might wish there were ways to fit it in on your own terms/schedule. I think this is where the stuff like facebook and the blogosphere come in handy.

    I was really surprised how much it took the edge off of feelings of isolation for me -- especially when my littlest dog died last summer, before I had met anyone here, but also during the school year when the workload gets oppressive and there is never enough time for anything (like now).

  3. Jessica.... give some time to this break up..I KNOW U HAVE.... BUT MORE... I know you love your husband and Hollis full tilt, divorce is SO easy, I KNOW first hand, my kids have paid for it, its not the way that I wanted IT to go,I had no choice in the matter, but I believe in my heart you guys can mend this... time is what you need.. and Hollis (love the name)is so super..I hope you all can work it out sometime, cause I LOOK back on all your blogs and I NEVER looked at blogs... u are a mom and lost yourself for a bit and we do...thats called devotion...... <3