A great deal of it is self-imposed, I suppose. In my case, anyway. When all of your friendships are surface, and no substance.
I’m always knee-deep in raising kids and planning ahead for kid things. Packing lunches, looking through the fridge and pantry to plan the next meal. Fielding all of the impromptu questions: Can I play video games? Can we play outside? Can we go to the pool?
And as we get ready to head out the door, I look down and realize that, like usual, I haven’t even changed my clothes yet because I’m so busy orchestrating everyone else’s stuff.
I put myself last.
It is the same way with my friendships. Sure, it seems like it would be easy to just strike up a conversation at the playground with another mom sitting by herself. But it is so awkward, and by the time you start to engage in a real conversation, it’s time to go, or someone fell and scraped their knee, or a conflict erupts that requires a referee, or every kid you brought runs off in separate directions. You can exchange contact info, but it’s a nightmare to try and coordinate busy mom schedules, and when the moment is gone, no one wants to appear desperate.
So on a day when you’re being driven so desperately crazy by the kids, you talk your husband into watching the kids for a while so you can go somewhere by yourself to decompress. But where do you go? You don’t really have friends or anywhere to go that doesn’t cost money. So you just blindly drive into town.
What the heck, you pull into Sonic and decide that you deserve a little treat. A cup of ice cream. Not fro-yo, ice cream, the full meal deal. And then you look around and realize that you are not the only mom sitting alone in her minivan at Sonic enjoying the solitude.
And good gravy, if I didn’t need Facebook so much to connect with the outside world, I would delete it. It sucks so much time, but gives me the interaction I desperately crave.
I greatly miss the ride-or-die friendships back home. I grew up around a large, crazy family. There was always a cousin here, there, over there, beside me and behind me. And now we live far away, and it’s just me. And my best friend is a 7-year-old boy. Bless him. He is pretty rad, but before long, he will probably grow tired of supporting his mom’s social life.
I say hi to plenty of moms in the hallways at church. But that’s about it. A lot of times, it feels like we’re at an awkward middle school dance. Girls on one side of the room, boys on the other, both feeling too awkward to make a move. What if it doesn’t work out? What if you decide you aren’t really compatible after all? What if she doesn’t really like me and thinks I’m annoying? What if our kids don’t get along? What if they judge the way I parent?
I recognize my responsibility here. I need to get my big-girl pants on. But do I really want someone close enough to see the real me? Isn’t it just easier to be lonely?
So we all just kind of go our own way. And end up parked next to each other at Sonic.