I have found on this bonkers parenting journey that one of the casualties can be your friendships. Those precious bonds you forged when you were younger and carefree can be harder to maintain when your days whizz by and it feels hard to keep up. You neglect your friends sometimes. It’s rubbish but it’s true.
Over the last few years, while I’ve been blessed with my little urchins, I have had really good friends go through the bloody awful, gut-wrenchingly unfair lottery of struggling to conceive, or dealing with recurrent miscarriages.
As a friend I want to support them but I’m also conscious they may not want me around so much. They might want to talk to friends with a better understanding of what they’re going through. I worry I’ll say the wrong thing (although I suspect the only right thing to say is “this is totally shit”). So I leave it a bit. Time passes. You feel even more awkward. More time passes.
I was feeling this way recently and I suppose being a pretty rubbish friend because I wanted to know if my mate was ok and I was thinking about her a lot but I was doing absolutely nothing about it. I was paralysed between a few half-written text messages and wondering what to say. I asked a friend who had spoken to her recently how she was and saying I missed her and she said, “you know what, why don’t you just call her?”
So I did. I used my mobile to make an actual telephone call and spoke to my lovely friend and heard her lovely voice.
Sadly when I made this momentous call her voice was saying “er, I’m really busy at work, can I call you back tomorrow?” and I did briefly wonder if that was that and I would never hear from her again (after sixteen years of friendship and prosecco-fuelled declarations of love) but she did indeed call me back and we spoke for almost an hour and it was dead nice.
So what I’m saying, in a garbled and convoluted way is this: if you have a friend who’s having a rubbish time, whether that’s baby-related or not, give them a ring.
There is something so truly delicious about hearing someone you care about’s voice (I might abandon instant messaging altogether. We’re over).
It doesn’t matter if it’s been absolutely yonks since you’ve been in touch. Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen?
Or you could bottle it and send them this poem instead.
I wrote the poem before I called my friend and the latter is definitely best.
I want to say (a friendship note)
I want to say:
I want to say:
“I’ll see you tomorrow”
(We both know
A distance is between us now,
I don’t know when it will close.
The more I want to fix it,
The more it seems to grow.
I wonder should I call you?
I reach, pick up the phone.
Then I stop; I falter,
Will you see my name and groan?
Do you think that I don’t care;
It’s so far from the truth?
If you could hear me
Clap and cheer
For you –
I’ld raise the roof.
If you ever get knocked over
When life’s given you a whack,
This note is a reminder:
I’m here. I’ve got your back.