The purest love
The purest love
I’ve been thinking a lot about friends and friendship so far this year. banana
Last year, around New Year’s, I remember telling my husband I did not want any more friends. I meant it. I was pregnant, three of my friends were pregnant, and my ‘main’ social circle already consisted of 20-30 people. That means 20-30 people invited to all the main events, birthdays, etc.
M was mentioning a friend’s friend, who had a ‘rough year’ and I should make an effort to be her new friend. This was someone I’d known casually for years, who had never reached out to me, and was only a topic of conversation because of a friend accidentally invited her to my NYE party. I felt odd about saying that. It was true, but it seems like a terrible thing to admit. “No, I do not want any new friends.”
Now, here in 2015, I can look back at 2014 and realize I actually made several new friends who I really enjoy. One, E, is probably my favorite new friend. She’s single, has a medical-related job that involves travel, is stylish, smart, and always up for an adventure. If I wasn’t married, I would probably demand she be my BFF immediately!
So I am thankful that, even though I wasn’t looking for new friends I have in fact made some new ones.
And, in that same note, I am also …conflicted? about some old friends…
Back in high school, when I was being bullied (and basically prehistoric cyber-bullied, since the internet was still ‘new’), I decided to not pursue one-sided friendships. I reinforced that decision later in college, but added a dose of ‘Love the person for who they are’, meaning some people are worth the extra effort and truly don’t mean to be one-sided in friendships.
But where’s the line on effort? When do you give up? If a friend rejects your attempts to get together 10 times and never bothers to reschedule or get back to you or acknowledge the pattern of cancellations or ignoring…it’s clearly gone beyond the ‘absent-minded forgot to reply’ scenario. But what about the years of friendship, and the intensity the friendship once held? It seems like a tragedy to ‘throw away’ all those memories and adventures and good times. But are they being thrown away, or are they just…The Past now?
I’m glad for the friends I have, in all their different forms. The ones I see every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. The ones I see once a month, or every two months. Those I keep in touch with via email now that distance has separated us. The effort is on both sides, and I like to believe both sides are equally fond of the friendships.
Then there’s the new element of being a parent and watching my daughter grow up. She’s only 8 months old but I find myself wondering about her future. Will she struggle to make and keep friends? Will she be accepted or rejected by her peers? Is she going to become hardened or jaded in the ways that I did during my struggles as a lonely adolescent and young adult?
If someone asked me now “What is being a parent like?”, I know my answer.
Truly, it is.
I look at the news and see stories of people giving up, people fighting strong, people being beaten down, people breaking barriers. Robin Williams, an amazing mind and great talent, kills himself. Someone finds a baby in a trash can. Someone beats a puppy to spite his girlfriend. A woman wins a great mathematics award. We save two people from Ebola. An underdog wins. We throw ourselves into another war. Rare leopard cubs are born.
The world is huge, and scary, and I don’t know what it’s going to continue to become. There are many great, good people in the world. But it only takes one bad person to flip a life upside down.
I stare into y girl’s eyes. She has no fears at this age. She is pure, and open, and the world is nothing but an exciting shiny newness. She hoots at me, and then breaks into a big gummy laugh….just because I look at her and Smile.
But that will change. I’m overjoyed at the idea of watching her learn the world. To see it through her eyes.
But I’m also afraid for her to see the bad parts. The sad things. The first time someone is mean to her. When she tries to make friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends. When she sees something sad, and asks me “Why, Mommy?” When I filter things to her level of understanding, because sometimes the truth is too scary for little minds.
Parenting is also heartbreaking…simply because you stretch your heart to an amazing new capacity. I am a lover, always have been. I love my family, my friends, my husband, my animals. Those are all different types of love.
Then there’s my child. My child. I created this tiny bundle of light and freedom. i am her world. I am the only thing that she has consistently seen, touched, and heard every single day of her life. She is entirely dependent upon me. And I feel, at times, that my soul is entirely dependent on hers.
And that has its own fears. What if something happens to me? What if something happens to her? We will continue onwards, both of us, without the other. But our lives would be impossible to fix. The gaping hole there would be a chasm that could never be filled.
So parenting is heartbreaking. It’s a roller coaster. It’s a confluence of paradices. And it’s amazing and beautiful and worth every moment.