Whether or not you have a child, spouse, significant other, etc., I think anyone can relate to this post.
We all know the saying, “You win some, you lose some”, but my twist on this is, “You win none and you lose many.”
Naturally I’m talking about friends. We all (hopefully) have them, and any engaged, married, pregnant or parent can tell you that once you meet the one, you lose a lot of friends.
I felt as though I had a good amount of friends in college, even carrying most over into my post-graduation life. I didn’t have a large number of people that I spent time with, mainly because I was working full-time, but I luckily had a social life. Derek and I made a point to go out weekly with friends, often together, taking our karaoke routine on the road to local bars and restaurants.
Once Derek and I were engaged and living together, we both had active social lives. Our wedding had come and gone, and almost immediately after telling our friends that we were expecting a baby, lots of them ghosted us. I understand that our lives began to revolve around being married and having kids, but we both still wanted to have friends and our own social lives. I kept a small group of close girlfriends (like three or four) that received the obligatory ultrasound photos and weekly baby updates, and once Roslynn was born, they came to visit and sent cards, letters, etc.
When you have a child with Autism or a developmental disability, your hopes of having any sort of communication with friends is basically thrown out a window. I barely have time to take a shower without a screaming child at the bathroom door, let alone enough time to pick up the phone and face-time or call someone. This is more challenging than having a “typical” child because your “friends” consist of the therapists that work with your child. And why not? They are the only ones you talk to and see on a weekly basis, consistently. Fortunately, the friends that are still around understand my demanding schedule and the dedication I have to my children and family, and my relationship with them has never been stronger.
There are a few friends that I wish were still a part of my life and were here to watch my kids grow up, and I know it isn’t just their fault that we aren’t friends anymore. I understand that my life became less fun and more family/work oriented, but if I ever needed a friend before, I definitely need one now. I would love for those people in my past to reach out and see that I am still the same person I was years ago, but also recognize that my first priority is my children. I would also hope that they read my blog posts thus far and understand that I haven’t intentionally dropped the ball on being a friend, I have been preoccupied with trying to help my son.
For those who have stuck around, I thank you. I would have never been able to survive the darkest part of my life (Roslynn’s NICU fight), without the daily words of encouragement from Brittany, who has been my other half and bestfriend since 2010. Or even now, whenever Aunt Jul (Julia) comes to visit the kids and joins us for family dinner once a week- it’s my time to escape the frustrations of my guilt and loneliness and feel like a normal person, not just an autism mommy.
My sisters from another mister will always be closest to my heart, no matter the distance or the circumstances and my children adore you both. I may not be the best communicator, or may forget to send you a response to your snail mail (Brittany), but your friendships mean the world to me and I thank you truly for being here for Derek, the kids and me through it all.
So, for all of my “single” friends, or friends without children, just remember that just because we are parents, we are not broken. You don’t have to throw us away or replace us, you just need to be a little more flexible with us so we can make our friendship work. We need the support and companionship, and by simply reaching out and showing a small act of friendship, it could brighten our day more than you could imagine.