Feb 20, 2009

Dear friend who has had a beautiful baby:

I love your beautiful baby. I love you. I love that you have had a beautiful baby. I too, one day, might like one of my own.
I respect that everything has changed. That new life is in the world. That your focus has changed. That your SLEEP has changed. That your diet has probably even changed, let alone your disposable spending account and ability to leave the house without bits of food clinging to your shirt.
I also understand that a miraculous thing has happened and you will never be the same, metabolically, emotionally, spiritually for it. That you want to see your child grow, change, mature. That this is your new focus and you are better and fuller for it.

As a friend who supports such decisions I look forward to spending time with you and your new growing family. I look forward to hearing about all the new and exciting things your child has learned or accomplished. I welcome your triumphs and frustrations. I want to be there for you. As a friend I also expect there will be baby birthday parties, christianings, bris’s, naming ceremonies, graduations and recitals and events. All which I appreciate being invited to and will be happy to attend.

However, as a friend I feel I should tell you: I have not yet had a baby. I understand this. I understand that there are other things that matter to me that are not a baby. I understand this creates distance, it creates a chasm of life experience.

Understand, this does not mean that my life is meaningless. It does not mean that I am somehow less mature, less developed, less important or less accomplished. It also does not mean that I am incapable of understanding that your life is new and exciting and difficult any more than I can understand any major life change….changes a life.
Most of all, it does not give you a right to treat me like a second class citizen. To devalue my priorities because they are no longer yours. To act like my needs are frivolous or novel. To regard my career, my finances or my personal life as irrelevant because they do not have this added dimension. It does not mean that you may be hours late and without calling and then blame it on the baby. You have a cell phone,and though life is unpredictable, especially so with a baby, and I understand this, you still must respect other peoples time. Even those without children.
It also does not mean that you can never call or return calls, never email, never make any contact effort what so ever, and then invite me only to family events that involve gift giving, and still consider me a good friend. This is just awkward and, in the end, ends up making everyone feel like an obligated extended family member.

Finally, you may not treat me like a stranger, like someone you barely know, 95% of the year, and then expect me to fully and gladly engage in the life of your baby, when you will not let me into the rest of your life, into your heart or into your head..and when you have clearly demonstrated you have no interest in my own life.

Dear friend who has had a beautiful baby, I look forward to being a close friend to you and your new baby. I do not look forward to being an estranged aunt or cousin whose time and pocketbook are required twice a year to swear fealty to the past cause of our friendship. So think carefully, next time, before you send out that invitation: when is the last time we had dinner together, coffee, went for a walk in the park? When is the last time we had a conversation not in a room full of people waiting to open a gift? When was the last time you wanted to share anything with me other than 2 hours in a room full of people talking about nothing?

Your friend who misses you,



Bjetsey said...

I feel ya, and very well said. Even though I have often been the one guilty of not returning calls very promptly.

rif said...

You are so rad sometimes.

daff0dil said...

thank you rif!

and bjetsey! we all have been guilty of that sin, on both sides of the parenting spectrum. hell, I have a short list of people who might think I'm dead by now. you are, however, not the subject of this post. infact, you are inspiration to remind me the other side: the way friendships grow and mature as people do the same and experience changes in their life, parenthood and otherwise