My dear friends with children,
I’m sorry for any time that I thought that you were being a bad friend. I’m sorry for thinking poorly of you because you didn’t return a text message immediately, or return a phone call within twenty-four hours (or ever). I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions when you seemed to be ignoring me- for assuming that you weren’t interested in maintaining the friendship, or that I had been replaced by a new “mommy” friend. I’m sorry for assuming that our friendship wouldn’t change when you had a child. I was naive. I should have realized that such a huge change in your life would change the dynamics of our friendship.
But now I know better. Now I understand why you didn’t respond to every single one of my text messages. Now I understand why we weren’t able to have 45 minute conversations at the drop of a hat like we used to. Now I understand what happened all those years ago, when your first child was born. Now I understand. I understand because now it’s my turn to seem like a bad friend.
Since the birth of my son, my life has become a constant weighing of priorities, and from time to time, I just have to choose taking a shower over countless much more significant tasks. Sometimes that means showering before eating breakfast. Or answering work emails. Or responding to a text from a friend. That’s not to say that every one of those tasks is more important than a shower, but when your every waking hour is controlled by this little adorable tyrant, you have to take the chance to bathe whenever possible. You don’t know when it’ll come your way again.
And then there’s the forgetfulness. I never knew how forgetful you can be when you become a mother. I suppose that it’s an inevitable consequence of caring for an infant. You start countless projects each day, and you’re lucky if you finish one. Just this morning, I found time to begin dusting my room, washing John’s bottles, cleaning the bathroom, and writing this blog. It is now ten minutes to one, and the Swiffer duster is sitting on my dresser with a visible line where my efforts were halted, John’s bottles are lined up on the drying rack (this was the one task that I actually completed), the bathroom floor has been half-mopped, and I’ve probably written about a third of this post. At just under three months old, John has a very short attention span, will only nap for 45 minutes at a time on a good day, and still needs to be fed every three hours to keep this little Gremlin cute and cuddly. Unfortunately, some tasks are bound to slip through the cracks, and others won’t be completed for another week. I’m ashamed to admit the sheer amount of drafts in my email, unfinished texts on my phone, and unanswered voice messages in my mailbox. And every one of those is important to me; I just don’t always have the time to write a complete email, answer a text message, or make a social phone call. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to.
So my dear friends with children, I am sorry for my past mistakes, and I am truly grateful for your friendship. You are each a blessing to me, and I am so thankful to be able to share so many memories with you. I have been amazed to watch our friendships grow and change over the years, and just as it changed when your child was born, now it will change again with the birth of mine. But now I have one more thing to share with you, one more thing that binds us- the beautiful gift of motherhood.
My dear friends without children,
This letter is in fact an apology, but I hope that one day you realize that there is really no need to apologize when your friendships change as the result of motherhood. The birth of a child requires that every facet of your life must change. You are no longer living just for yourself. You’re also living for this tiny human being who depends on you for their every need. And that means that sometimes your priorities have to change.
Please know that I will always value our friendship, even if I can’t always be there for you in the way that you want me to be. Even though our lives are changing, and these changes will inevitably mean changes in our friendship, I consider myself blessed to call you ‘friend.’ With these new demands on my time, I do not have the freedom that I once enjoyed and took for granted. No, I probably can’t meet you in ten minutes at the closest Starbucks, but my door is always open to you. No, I probably won’t be able to answer your phone call right away, especially if John is in need of my attention, but I will always call you back eventually. No, I probably won’t respond to your text message in ten seconds flat, but you will get a response in time. I may not always be able to give you my time, but I can always give you my love. And that’s the more valuable gift.
My dear friends without children, I hope that one day, if it is God’s will for you, you experience the incredible gift that is a child. I hope that you experience the beauty of motherhood and fatherhood firsthand. But in the meantime, I hope that you know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers, and even if we do not get the chance to talk everyday and see each other more than once every few months, I am blessed to have you in my life.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!