Friendships shouldn't be difficult, but sometimes they can be a downright messy and very complicated endeavor.
Some friendships die a natural death: people move, change jobs, start a family, or embark on a completely different stage of life. Other friendships, however, end prematurely and abruptly. When a friendship is over and you don't always understand why and it can be painful and puzzling. Sometimes a friend ends your relationship without even telling you and sometimes they are able to muster up enough courage to FINALLY say all the things they have wanted to say for a very, very long time. I spent a good part of last week stewing over a friendship I have had for 20 years. We exchanged scathing e-mails and I ended up sharing some things that were WAY overdue. Should one of us have picked up the phone to discuss our issues? Absolutely, but e-mail has always sort of been "our thing" due to our geographic challenges.
It would take an entire blog to describe all the ups and downs and twists and turns I have had with this person over the years, so I'll spare you the torrid details and just say that like in any relationship, there were good times and some nice memories that I will always cherish, but ultimately, pride, ego and an unwillingness or inability to "show up" played a huge role in the end of our friendship.
I am certainly not perfect and there are two sides to every story, but this is my blog, so you can figure out which one of us I think was the selfish one.
I have experienced monumental changes during the last three years (I got re-married, lost both of my parents at the same time, left a 10+ year career in marketing to deal with the fall out and became a mother) and my friend wasn't much of a friend to me during any of these life altering moments and instead of saying anything to her, I pretended that everything was okay.
To be fair, she had fallen on tough times too and has spent the last three years trying to find steady work, all the while nursing a back injury sustained from an auto accident and in my opinion popping too many pills and letting herself spiral out of control. Every e-mail I received was worse than the last, a virtual "woe is me" tale of sending out resumes, worry over paying medical bills, asking for money, a repossessed car, and "boy toys".
Ah, can you say different phases of life?
I am not saying that what was going on her life was was any less important than what was going on in mine, but there was so little acknowledgement of my burdens that it bruised my heart.
How does this relate to Lucas and/or motherhood?
I believe when you become a parent, you gain a much clearer view of the world around you, the relationships you have and what your priorities are. I literally don't have the time to build egos or coddle anyone but my son (and occasionally my husband) anymore!
Friendship plays a key role in shaping an individual and in making the person he or she turns out to be. I have always thought of myself as a good friend. Thoughtful, loyal, fun to be with and above all engaged. I get caught up in the details sometimes and admit to having high expectations, but over the years, I have realized that that is okay. Why shouldn't I expect the very same that I give in return? I want nothing less for my son and the friendships he cultivates someday.
There is a lesson in this loss for me... hopefully, I'm little wiser and will be a lot more open in future. Life is too short.
Today, I feel lighter and a tiny bit sad. I am proud of myself for finally speaking my mind and letting her know how I feel about her absence over the years, but I will miss her and moving on, will think of her only with fondness.
The best is yet to be.