There’s a woman I’ve known since high school that has been a saving grace through this whole COVID-19 shitshow. We lost touch for a really long time, but found each other after her divorce, which was right on the cusp of mine.
We both have teenagers, so I was able to tell her about the time I stood behind my son’s revving car to keep from leaving when he wanted to go hangout with friends.
She was able to come to me when her daughter was struggling with anxiety so bad she could barely function.
Her ex-husband has started drinking heavily and her children have not felt safe staying with him so she’s the full time, single parent now.
We’ve been able to talk and text and hang out on my front porch. Last Saturday she brought over a bottle of wine.
The week before, she called me at 7am when I told her I’d had a fight with the man I was dating.
She’s been that person — my go-to friend where nothing is filtered on either side, and we are able to vent and let loose knowing there’s no judgment coming from the other side because really, we are both kind of entangled in a mess.
I can count on her to bring a listening ear and understanding and she feels the same.
Before this pandemic, we were buzzing around with our lives, meeting for lunch and shopping without getting down to the gritty stuff as often.
The thing is, though, there wasn’t as much grit before this happened and our lives were put through the blender. This experience has made me learn just how much I can trust and depend on her.
If it weren’t for COVID-19, I wouldn’t be using my body as a shield to protect my kids. Her daughter probably wouldn’t have such crippling anxiety, and she’s pretty sure her ex-husband wouldn’t be staring at an empty booze bottle every night.
It’s funny how something that can turn your world upside down will leave everyone’s true colors blazing. I found that to be true when I went through my divorce, and I find that to be true now as we approach our sixth month of trying to figure this pandemic out.
This has been hard on everyone, and I see people aligning with those they know will have a productive and positive influence on their lives. It’s taught us what’s important and made us realize there’s no shame in doing some deep-cleaning, friend style.
It has also allowed me to reconnect with some other long-lost friends — women I used to work with; women I went to college with; old high school friends and neighbors. We’ve come together collectively to say, “What the bloody hell is going on in our world? I’m scared. If you need anything, I am here.”
You don’t need to see each other in person to reignite a bond you once had, or form a new one. A group text message thread can go a long way in making you feel loved, that’s for damn sure.
I’m so thankful to my friends, far and wide, virtual and in-person, who have shown up and listened without lecturing. I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t able to talk about my truth with someone who understands and is going through something similar. Who has time to put on a show during this pandemic and make it look as if they have all the answers and everyone should stay positive or they get a write-off?
Shoutout to my friends who are keeping it real. Because in doing so they are reminding me I am not alone, and we are going to get through this together — even if it looks incredibly messy (which it does).
Shoutout to the women in my life who are comfortable enough to come to me and make me feel like I actually do make a difference in their lives, and they value me.
Shoutout to those who don’t judge but instead have compassion, even if they are in a different phase in life.
Pandemic or not, I need a social circle of people who keep it real and make me want to be a better person. It just seems like this is one of those times when those we know make it really easy to choose them. Or not.
Listen to those hints, and choose wisely. The way I see it, if you can make it through a situation like this pandemic without them (and feel better for it), they just don’t belong in your life.
Hang on to those who have gotten you through this. Friends like that are hard to find.
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