My dear friend without children.
Hundreds of years ago we used to hang out. All the time. Our lives were entwined, our dreams were aligned and our parallel paths stretched long ahead.
Then these other people came into my life. People I haven’t known as long. The little people that have snatched all of my heart and most of my time.
You and I still hang out, but it’s so different, I know. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that whenever I meet you with the kids, we are 20 minutes late. No matter what I do, we seem to be 20 minutes late. You know how shopping centres can create a time vortex, sucking the hours away? The boys have the same magical powers.
Sorry that by the time we get to you, I’m already completely frazzled. Actually, I have been in a permanent state of frazzlement for sometime now. To be honest, it’s times with you that wear down the edges and offer relief. Thank you.
If I meet you for a just-us-girls dinner, then I’m still late. The boys do not respect the boundaries of time and they believe all of mine belongs to them. I still haven’t learned to factor in the 10 minutes of hugs and teary goodbyes before I can leave.
When we do go out, I have the grandest of plans. I want to stay up late, talk about the important stuff and work through several bottles of wine. Then my weary mind and body falter at an embarrassingly early time. Sorry.
Our phone calls are punctuated with my talking (yelling) at the boys. You’re telling me about your life, things I want to hear, and I’m answering with “stop hitting your brother”, “put your penis away” and “don’t ride the dog”.
When I talk too much about the boys, I apologise. I never wanted to be that parent. We both used to roll our eyes at those parents. I try hard not to be lost in them, to maintain an identity separate to my children. But sometimes the love, the worry and the pride bubble over. I know you understand.
I’m sorry that when you do come over, the boys insist that they are the reason for your visit. They they pull at your attention and want to show you all the (boring) things. I hope the kisses, hugs and fervent story telling make up for it. Just a little bit.
Thank you for adopting them as your nephews. For your patience. For spoiling them. For loving them.
I’m so sorry for the blur of the baby years. For the times I let our friendship slip as I battled the fatigue and demands of very little children. Thank you for rushing to my side the moments I needed you most, even when it must have felt like I had abandoned you.
I’m sorry if ever seem ungrateful for having these amazing little people in my life. I know you aren’t sure whether you will have children of your own. It’s a complicated conversation that perhaps we don’t delve into far enough. There are so many land-mines, so many careless things that could be said, so many hurts and regrets just below the surface. So, I say, very carefully, thank you for the mother-side of your personality and your heart that you give, not just to our boys, but to me.
Do you have one of these wonderful friends too?