August 13, 2009

What a difference a year makes...

It is incredible to me how much can change in a year. Becoming a parent has been one of best things that's happened to me in my life thus far. It changes you in ways you never thought of, in ways you don't even necessarily notice until you really take a good look back at who you were pre-child. You are forced to let go of things that you come to realize are unnecessary, and start caring about things you never cared about before.

The hardest changes, for me, have been the changes in relationships with friends. I am so so thankful to have friends who understand and love me despite the ways in which I've changed; the friends who understand that it might take me a week to return a phone call or that I email instead of calling back; the friends who get that I'm now totally out of the loop on celebrity gossip, and genuinely seem to want to know what Audia is up to these days and care about what's important to me in my life now.
But it has been hard to see the distance increase between myself and some friends; friends who don't get why I can't meet up for drinks at night or take it personally if I don't return their phone calls the same day. I do my best to explain that it isn't because I don't want to. But some of them kind of force you to weed them out of your life. For example, one friend went as far as to send me a nasty email saying how angry (their word) they were that not only did I not call back within a day, but they were angry that I texted them saying that conversing via email would be easier at the moment. (would they rather I not respond to their voicemail at all??) This person did not even give me the benefit of the doubt that perhaps my life was really that busy at the moment. I get that it is hard for a non-parent to fully grasp how time consuming parenting (not to mention, attachment parenting, specifically) a baby who, at the time, was simultaneously teething AND going through a growth spurt AND experiencing a sleep regression can be. Not to mention that it was the week we were MOVING! (which this friend knew) But to be angry without even asking what's going on? And then to say that their friendship obviously isn't a priority?? Sorry, you're right. It's not a priority over my daughter. Nor will it ever be.

I know I'm not the first parent to feel somewhat isolated. Or to be simultaneously hurt by the changes in relationships, and glad to see who my real friends are. There truly is no better way to test a friendship than to become a parent. Maybe some of those friends who are drifting will come around once they have kids of their own. Maybe not. Maybe things'll get "back to normal" once Audia's a little older. Maybe not. Not all of my friends who are parents "get" my choice of parenting style, and thus not all of them "get" why I can't call them up while Audia's sleeping. But most of them are more understanding than most of my non-parent friends.

Regardless of these growing pains, though, it goes without saying that I wouldn't change any of it. I truly believe that Audia is the sweet, loving, cuddly, smart, happy little girl that she is because we've taken the road that we have. She is the most important thing in my life, and if I have to watch a few friends walk away because of that, so be it.