My best friend and I couldn’t be more different. She’s half my size, twice as dark, believes the four legged creatures she shares a home with are her children (and a blessing), and is perusing a career that involves using numbers every.single.day. Despite the clear lack of sense about her (who wants to work with numbers every.single.day?!) she still manages to have some strong suits about her. She loves my family and me, married a fantastic man with an English accent (and a killer selection of shoes), and claims the Jayhawks as supreme.
After two physical altercations, one of which is a legitimate brawl, the other entirely fictional we decided we should just keep being best friends. 9 years, two kids each (ones with two legs in my house, ones with four in hers) and two weddings serving as Maid of Honor later here we are. Though I don’t understand for the life of me why anyone would want to own a pet, there still comes great wisdom from her, and my other close girlfriends from college, that I simply couldn’t get elsewhere. Chris couldn’t impart it, mama friends couldn’t share it, and I assure you I’d never have the cognitive skills to think it up on my own.
Everyone needs friends without kids. Friends to remind you that you used to be cool and have fun. Friends to remind you that the spit up on your shirt is cute, but you should really think about changing that shirt because there’s probably something unsanitary about wearing vomit. Friends who choose beautiful floor-length bridesmaid gowns to show you really can wear something fancy for a night to make up for those days of yoga pants. And friends who want to have conversations about life. That OTHER life. The one where you like to have a pretty drink with an umbrella at a rooftop pool. The one where you have careers. The one where you agonize about what outfit to wear on a date night with your man.
It takes the occasional reality check from my kid-free homies to remind me that “mom” is just one of many titles God has entrusted me with. I don’t have to be consumed by my short comings and successes at home because, though they serve a valid role, they are not my core. To indulge in a little reminiscing of life before rugrats is such a joy. Not feeling guilt about spending time away at a much-needed girls weekend is crucial. Hiding in the back of my closet whispering into the phone so the kids can’t find me is a little off the rocker but the need for balance exists.
If nothing else motherhood is a balancing act. I seem to always be at some extreme. Sometimes I’m super committed to my role as wife and even take the time to sweep the kitchen because I know a clean cooking space is most important to my man. Other times I find a great burst of energy and teach K about Jesus, the Disciples, Hell, and stifle a giggle at her prayers asking Jesus to eat His broccoli. In the midst there are still people who need me. If not for more than the respect of a returned phone call, but just to invest and make sure I’m OK. The humbling part of this journey is accepting the reaching out. To feel loved and encouraged by those around me who take time out of their busy lives (though so much different than mine) to touch base.
The importance of not forgetting the roles you hold is essential. Being loved well enough to be told you’re slipping away is a blessing to be cherished. I’m a season where it would be easy to isolate and write off opportunities to be known for more than my ability to cut crust off a sandwich. In this season I’m deeply thankful for the gift of friends who choose to have careers and lives where they can vacation, get promotions, and excel in their hobbies.
So, thank you for waiting to have your own bambinos so you still have time in your hectic lives to visit me. Thank you for providing opportunities for me to spend quality time away from my kids and deepen my relationship with you. Thank you for having stunning weddings so I can live vicariously through you and your catered meals, seating arrangements, and DJ’s. And thank you, friends, who encourage me to remember parts of myself I too often forget.