When I first moved back to where I live now, I felt really lonely. It’s always hard to start from scratch and make new friends. Especially when you’re a mum with young kids, in the throes of toddlerhood and butt wiping. It can feel extremely isolating.
So, I did something that was completely out of my comfort zone. I met a friend through an online mum group. We started chatting and realised we had a lot in common. But, our common denominator was that we both wanted a friend, and needed to get out of the house.
My friend and I started doing things weekly. We met up with kids occasionally, but mostly we went to nice dinners and to the movies together without our kids bugging us. We both wanted the same thing. A break from our reality of raising teeny tiny humans.
Eventually I started to notice a shift. She became more interested in spending money and shopping, and had a different income and lifestyle than I did. While that normally wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, it felt as if we had less and less to talk about when we were together. Then, all of a sudden, she stopped being available to do the things we had been doing in the past. As far as I know, I had done nothing wrong, and neither had she.
I normally might have felt hurt, or wondered what I had done wrong, but instead, I oddly felt a sense of relief. I had felt for quite some time that I couldn’t relate to some of her issues, and I knew she couldn’t relate to mine. It was time for the friendship to end.
But, I look back on that time we had together and am grateful for the purpose she served in that time of my life when I was new to the area, and lonely. I can only hope that she would say the same about me. We both needed each other. But, it ended because we found passions in different things after a time, and support in other people in our lives, and we simply grew apart. But, I’ll always be grateful for that season in my life when she was there for me.
Having friendships as an adult is hard. Most women I know long for a best friend that will come over to their house in the middle of the day and chat when they’re about to have a breakdown, or will drop everything to help watch their kids in an emergency. They want someone they can confide in, and most of all, they want a lifelong friend, that also happens to live next door.
But, I’ve realised that that doesn’t always happen for everybody. Instead, what seems to happen is that mum friends come and go. It can feel sad when a friendship ends, but I’ve come to understand that certain friends are temporary and it’s not always a big deal when friendships end. They serve a purpose in our lives for a short period of time. That doesn’t mean that we don’t miss them when they leave, or move away, or stop calling, it just means that sometimes we grow up and grow apart. And, there is no shame in admitting that to ourselves, or even to each other.
I’m grateful for the friends I had while my husband and I were at uni. I will always have a special place in my heart for the bond we shared and the support they gave us as we had our first child and were both struggling through new parenthood.
I’m grateful for the friends I had when I had a newborn and a toddler, and needed to have a playgroup regularly to get us all out of the house and keep from going crazy. I’d love to see those women again and see how all our kids have grown up, but I’m also aware that without our littles toddling around, maybe we might not have much to talk about anymore.
I’m grateful for friends that got me through difficult transitions like moving to a new area, or suffering through postnatal depression. Friends can last a lifetime, but they can also be there for just a short time when we really needed them.
So, I don’t always see it as a big deal if a friendship ends. It can be sad for a while, and sometimes it can hurt, but the truth is, I know there are more friends around the corner, and that every friend that has come into my life is one I will remember and treasure forever.
And, I can only hope that they would say that while we were close, I was as good of a friend to them, as they were to me.