Mothers long for companionship. All of them. The ones that work, the ones that stay home, the ones that work from home, the ones with babies, the ones with big kids, even the ones with no children left at home. We all pine for friendship, yet we acknowledge there is very little time or energy to invest in those real relationships. I have been surprised to discover that making the time is not becoming any easier. No, it must be intentional, whether responding to a text, meeting for a cup of coffee or lunch, even answering the phone just when you were pondering a nap. Yes, I nap.
We need friends. Our children and families and husbands will soak up every bit of us, unless we say no. Years ago, my husband took three or four weekend trips a year and in response to my complaining about how I never went anywhere, he asked, quite seriously, why I didn't. He was absolutely right. It was only me stopping me and so now, I plan. Not terribly often. I will have been gone ten or so days this year and over half of them I spent alone. I don't think 3% of the year is too much to ask. I've had to convince myself that it's not selfish and it makes such a tremendous difference in my spirit.
Someday I hope that my chicks will have flown the nest and I'd like to think I will still have those friends whom I can pick up the phone and call, meet for lunch, spend weekends or even time traveling. Someday I should have more time but if I wait until I do, I will have no friends. The friends I do have are solid, kind, thoughtful, funny, interested, flexible and available. I'd like to think that I give as much as I take though these days, it's not quite true and my friends overlook that truth because they are real friends.
Today, I drove to a nearby town, got on an airplane and flew to a big city, at least for NC. I'm meeting a group of girls from all over. One of them I have stayed in touch with quite a bit and the others, I have not. Some are not married, one just got married, some have children, and all have chosen to make an effort to grasp on to friendship. Twenty five years later, we recognize that life never really slows down, gets less busy, or that plans have become easier to make. If anything, most of us are in our peak busy time of life and yet for me, it took getting there to realize what I was missing.
Call a friend. Take a friend cookies. Cook dinner for a friend. Send a friend flowers and chocolates. Offer to drive a friend on a long car trip. Paint a picture for a friend. Cry when a friend tells you how she was hurt. Apologize to a friend and in turn, accept her apology, swallow your pride and invite her to lunch. In the last two weeks, I have encountered all these tokens of friendship. I am thankful for the reminder that friends are hard to come by, at least the real ones, so make a plan, take a trip, leave everyone at home and laugh, laugh a lot. Everything will be fine at home, it really will.