Dear Best Friend Who Ghosted When I Had Babies,
I miss you.
Wildly. Like a lot. A very, very lot.
You were there when I was waltzing through Latin America. There, when I was trying desperately to be a starving artist. There, when I got cancer and there when I defended my dissertation. There, when I was sad and angry and jealous because I believed my cancer had stolen my fertility.
And then I had babies the hard way- with a surrogate- and you cried when I told you, and they were tears that didn’t feel like you were happy for me. You came over when the twins were brand new, and held them and I watched you and knew inside that you would always love each other. But you only came back twice.
And then I got pregnant by surprise and you saw the baby twice in her first year.
You came when she was 2 days old, and I was in bed with my tiny human, and you asked how long I’d have to wear the diaper-size pad and I made us some lunch.
I so ached for you to take care of me. To lay in bed with me. To tell me my baby was the most beautiful baby you’d ever, ever seen.
Let me tell you why this hurts, and what I think is happening. I know I could be wrong.
I think it hurts too much for you to see me with my babies, because it exposes your own wounds in light that is too harsh for your sweet heart.
I think it hurts because maybe you want babies, too, and so you stay away. To protect yourself.
I remember when I felt that way.
I want to tell you that it hurts over here, too.
I used to tell you everything. Text you all my life details. You knew I had cancer before my mom knew.
I imagined that my children would call you Auntie. I imagined that we would list you- you- as the person who would raise our children if we died. I imagined they’d run to the door and throw their little sticky hands around your neck and you’d hold them on your hip and I’d fall into your arms and tell you how my nipple felt sore and how I sometimes I feel both totally perfect and utterly crazy in the same moment. You were completely woven into how I thought I’d parent.
I never imagined I’d go this stage of life without you.
But here I am.
You moved and never invited me over. I know I would have had to bring a kid or two with me, but I would have loved to come help you move in. I would have brought wine.
I have made heart-wrenching decisions about my life, my career, my family, my home… and I’ve spent hours wondering what you would have thought.
At every birthday, I imagine how it might have been. I remember that I thought you’d be handing me the lighter for their candles, clapping for my babies.
I look at the people who are present, and I am so grateful for each and everyone of them. But I miss you too.
And if our season of friendship was yesterday, I’ll have to accept that. But not just yet.
Because I think what’s keeping us apart is that you’re hurting, and I’m hurting, and we don’t have each other to laugh and cry together.
We may be different now. I may be different.
I have children tugging at my skirt hem and I have a million details running through my head and every little thing in the world reminds of something my sweet darlings have done or said, and my body is so bursting with love for them I desperately want to share.
I want so badly to wrap you into my world. I want to pick you up and go hiking and not get very far at all because we have small children with us. I want to call you when I’m up late and early and at nap-time and anytime because I can always plop these kids in front of YouTube.
If you’re hurting because you want babies, I want to hold you and tell you I remember that hurt, and that I know I can never understand now that I have babies. I want to tell you I know you’re going to be the best mama ever. Or maybe you don’t want babies at all, and then I want to know that, too. I want to know you, Auntie of my children. You, growing in your career and exploring the world and making new friends. I want to know you. All of you.
And I want you to know me. In all my utter imperfection.
So, I miss you. And I’m waiting with arms wide open anytime you like.
All my love.
I see you, Mama.
I see you in high heels and in flip flops, wiping snot on your sleeve and spraying dry shampoo on your head because you haven't been able to shower in, days.
I see you.
I know you need time for you, even though it is impossible.
I see you taking a conference call while you push the baby on the swings and I see you trying to grocery shop without a scene.
I know you need to get outside. I know you miss the smell of wet dirt and the way the light filters through the redwoods.
I see you wondering if this madness will ever end, if there will ever be a spare moment to breathe.
I know things feel spacious when pine needles blanket the ground and a creek bubbles.
I see you needing more, even though you'd do anything for those sweet, snotty little faces.
I see you because I'm you, racing between job and babies, kicking off heels for flip flops, wondering if I can squeeze in a few more moments here or there.
I see you because I know we are losing precious time because we must do this and that and the other, because nannies and preschool and summer camp and after-school and, and, and.
Mama, we've got to break away.
To save our hearts and souls and bodies, we must get outside.
So take your littles if you must, and fill your pockets with snacks and get outside. Just go!
We only get one shot at this wild, precious life.
Spend it as close to this earth, and as close to your heart as is humanly possible.
Your life- our lives- depend on it.
#getoutside #mama #preciouswildlife #redwoods#northerncalifornia #babyandme
Chelsey is a digital storyteller, geek, mama, researcher and yogi. She loves to make things and her favorite food is artichokes.