Dear Older Friend With Teenagers,
I know it’s been a while since we have been in touch. That’s fine; our lives are rather different, beyond the homeschooling and enjoyment of all natural peanut butter. And the free spirit tendencies, which perhaps is part of what contributed to our eventual loss of contact.
There is no animosity on either side, which I am happy about. But truth be told, I did resent you a little at first, which in retrospect is not your fault but my own, as I was at a difficult place in life and time when we first met. Home, alone, with babies. Your kids were 10 and 12, which was… much, much different. You had been enjoying your dates with your husband, sleep filled nights, dinner and wine with girlfriends, and evenings out knowing that your family would be fine without you for a few hours. I was not anywhere near there. I actually had to give up a few attempted activities thanks to diapers, nursing, potty-training, and the fact that at the time The Husband was not working from home as he does now.
Being as sociable and fun-loving as you are, this was difficult for me, to say the least.
Perhaps I expected you to voluntarily take a backwards step (or a couple of dozen of them) and meet me where I was, for extended periods, on a repeated basis. Because you’d been there, and you knew what it was like (read: HARD). Now that I am almost a year out of diapers, potty training, and long done with nursing, I completely understand where you were at. I know you would think I was silly if I asked for your forgiveness for my previous resentment towards your freedom. That is how you are. That is… how I am now. Happier and less bitter, perhaps simply due to actually sleeping at night and not dealing with oodles of pee and poop all day ha ha ha.
I think that’s it. I think I felt immobilized and stuck and just expected you to go backwards. And now I understand something very clearly: going backwards like that is like choosing to hang out halfway down a mountain you have just spent years climbing to the top of and giving up the enjoyment of the long awaited view. Bingo. I get it. Because I could not be up there with you, I expected you to actually spend your time where I was, still only halfway there, in the hard spot. How selfish of me to expect this of someone who has put in their due time already… And you did visit me there on occasion. It just wasn’t enough for me. The crowd was at the top, and I couldn’t be there. It was hard. But in hindsight it was good for me, because I appreciate the smaller things so much more now. Like sleep. Dates. Sex minus exhaustion. Yoga minus screaming. All the things you had that I was ready to have again, I guess.
There is a weight off my shoulders, a stress gone, a peace in my being and in my home. We will always be busy; there are nine of us and a dog, after all. But I am enjoying this rediscovery of myself on a non-pregnant, non nursing, non diaper changing, baby free level. I am enjoying that my husband feels quite a bit like my boyfriend again, except with much more depth and just plain fun going on between us. I am enjoying my children and the things we can now do together since they are “older”. I am enjoying occasional part-time work, more time to write, freedom and flexibility, and being… myself again.
So, friend whose children will soon grow up and leave the nest, I just want to say thanks. For not babying me, nor giving up your hard-earned happy stage of life for my sake and instead simply enjoying it. You were honest, you were kind. I had the problem, not you.
I’m sure we will cross paths again. And when we do, We’ll likely enjoy our time together a little more than we could before.
Cheers. To each stage of life that comes our way and shapes us.