I am a speech-language pathologist. Part of my work is to teach teens strategies to become better social communicators, forge connections with others, and navigate socially problematic situations effectively. In other words, I teach them how to be a friend.
As a working mother in her forties my friendships with others have been extremely difficult for me to manage. There are so many balls up in the air and I have to say that maintaining a social life outside of my marriage and family was a ball I dropped in recent years. There are only so many hours in a day and my weekends are filled with family commitments. I was struggling to find the time and energy for everything.
There were times (usually when I was teaching a social skills lesson) that I would reflect upon my relationships with my friends and feel badly about myself. I was not being a good friend. I was not consistently reaching out to people to chat. I knew a friend was struggling and I wasn’t checking in with her enough. I was refusing invitations to get together using legitimate excuses but also not making any attempts to rearrange things to make my friends a priority. I was not making any new connections choosing to avoid others at school-related and sporting events for my kids, sitting alone or on my phone. At work I was often eating lunch on my own or with my one work bestie. I avoided the faculty room, steered clear of non-work related conversations with others, and spent my downtime isolated in my classroom. I just didn’t make time for friends.
And the irony is not lost on me. If I am to teach others how to be a good friend I probably should BE a good friend.
And I was not.
But this winter I experienced a crisis. And guess who showed up? All of those friends.
My friends showed up for me. They checked in, sent me food, brought me flowers to smell and books to read. They cried with me. They cheered me up. They listened to me. They took time from their own lives to focus on mine. They were amazing friends to someone who hasn’t been so amazing of late.
Life can hurtle on by. Motherhood is a marathon run, most times, at a sprinter’s pace. We wake up, do all the things for all of the little humans we created, take care of our home, maybe work a full day outside of the home, squeeze in a little time for ourselves (maybe??), go to bed, blink, and we’re up and at it again. Time for friends and any type of social life outside of this can feel unimportant, not needed, or maybe even indulgent. I beg you, please, find the time. You need those friends. And they need you.
So to those beautiful, generous, caring women in my life I am hereby sending a heartfelt (and a little teary-eyed) THANK YOU.
To Alicia…our busy lives and diverging commitments have left me missing my former dance mom partner in crime. I know life has been hard for you too. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you more. I’m so incredibly thankful you were there for me. I’m going to get better at returning the favor, I promise.
To Jill…your unwavering faith in God, in prayer, in people, and especially in me gives ME faith. You’ve been in my life for so long, thank you for never giving up on me. I need you now, more than ever.
To my other friends who have checked in, given me unwavering support, offered advice, and sent me comfort items I will forever be thankful. I’m going to prioritize time together going forward. I miss talking with you, laughing with you, and celebrating accomplishments with you. I need that energy and those good vibes as I continue to recover.
To my friends of CT Working Moms…this community continues to be an empathetic, caring, and non-judgmental gathering of women who I am humbled to call my friends. You are all an inspiration to me for so many reasons and I thank you for caring for me this winter.
To my friends at work…thank you for reminding someone who has begun to feel invisible that she is loved and needed. Being wrapped in your arms and welcomed back (literally and metaphorically) after my physical recovery was instrumental to my emotional recovery. I am determined to get out of my space more often to see you all throughout my busy weeks so I can remind YOU that you are loved and needed.
And to Jodi…
*cue the tears falling onto my keyboard as I attempt to find the words*
You are one of the best humans I have ever had the honor of knowing.
I do not deserve a friendship like yours but I’m determined to never lose it.
For the hundreds of things I could list…Thank you.
You sacrificed your time and your peace for me, for months, never once faltering in your commitment to help me.
I will forever be humbled by your kindness, awed by your strength, and comforted by the knowledge that you are in my life.
This year I promise to give you some peace, endless love and support, and so much laughter.
I’m determined to become the friend you have been to me.
You’re worthy of that and much, much more.
2 thoughts on “Dear Friend”
So beautiful and heartfelt. You and Jodi are amazing, wonderful, strong women who really define caring and love!