Monday, September 19, 2011

Before I Leave Town

We're heading out of town tomorrow for a week-long trip to visit family and friends in the Midwest. This will include 3 days, 3 nights of away-from-the-kids time for just me and DH. Can't wait! We desperately need to recharge the marital batteries. Short getaways always do us a world of good.

We're really lucky that my folks are so unbelievably awesome with our kids. They beg us to take trips like this where they watch the kids so we can have some alone time. And the kids beg for it, too. DS has been counting down the days, and planning all of the things they're going to do together in the Bigger City. The excitement in the house is palpable.

Also on the books is a visit with one of my BFF's, S, who just had her second baby at the end of August - her son is almost 3. Planning the part of the visit where we hope to see her has actually been a huge pain in the ass. You see, S has many, many amazing qualities, but is just not a very organized person in general. Even before she had kids, she typically was 30-45 minutes late to everything. Since adding kids to her life, now multiply that number by a thousand, and you're still not even close to the level of tardiness she's capable of. That being said, she is hands down one of the most caring, genuine people I know, so I put up with her little quirk (and she puts up with loads more of mine, I'm sure.)

S originally wanted to meet us in the Big City where she lives for dinner. Then she changed her mind and asked us to drive an hour and a half to her parents house to meet there on a Saturday night, after having flown halfway across the country, even though her own house is in the Big City. Then she realized we weren't planning on renting a car, so she said she'd meet us in the Big City at 7:30pm after her son goes to bed, and they want to bring the baby which is fine. So we're taking that to mean we had better go have dinner by ourselves somewhere at 5pm, and plan to meet up with her at like 8:30pm at the earliest somewhere else. Big ginormous eyeroll.

For reasons I'll explain, I've been feeling like not so special a person to her lately. But I'm trying to temper those feelings with a dose of reality. (She's just had a baby! Give her a break!) In short: she took 2 weeks after her normal, healthy, vaginally-delivered baby was born to finally call and tell me about it personally. Yes, truthfully, I was kind of bummed that the woman I think of as one of my 2 best friends in the world chose to deliver me the news of her baby's birth via a text message from her DH to my DH, which simply said 'it's a girl,' and gave the date and time... It then took another week for me to get the mass email telling me the baby's name and sharing a picture. Ugh. Not necessarily the communication choices I would make for an event one generally has 9 months notice on. I think the kicker is that her mother is taking 100% care of her and her family for the next month. She has literally moved into her parents home to be doted on, and she loves it. (Man, I'm jealous.) But then again, with all of that help she still couldn't manage to find 5 minutes to pick up the phone? I know, I know. I need to cut her some slack. She's a new mom again. It sucks. And she's disorganized as all hell to begin with. It so clearly is not personal. I know the last thing she'd ever want to do is hurt one of her best friends. But still. I'm hurt.

I have this assumption I walk around with that goes something like: "You make time for the things and the people who are truly important to you. You may say someone is important, but if you didn't make the time for them, they truly weren't that important to you." And I tend to view others' actions as though they share my worldview. From my own experiences, I just can't wrap my head around treating a friend that way. Even though I had zero unpaid helpers with both of my postpartum experiences, I still managed to put together a list of people to call from the hospital. So to me, that equals a bare minimum standard that I apparently am expecting her to uphold without ever having mentioned it. ;) This is where I suck as a person - I have these great expectations for myself and sometimes I put them on to other people, and get disappointed. Then I finally have a moment of clarity: "Oh, my Type A way is not normal?" Yeah. Having one of those moments right now!

Talk to me before I get out of town!


eep said...

For what it's worth, I think that was pretty shitty of your friend. I, however, also suffer from high expectations of myself, and assume that if others do not treat me the was I would treat them, they must not like me. Which is why I spend my evenings watching recorded episodes of Doctor Who. So, yeah.

Anandi said...

I didn't call or email anyone for at least a week after my babe was born. I called my parents to give them the news but other than that, hubby and I just lived in a little family bubble for that first week or two. So I guess I'm on the "cut her a little slack" thing - maybe she was really overwhelmed by the idea of 2 kids, even though she had help etc. (Esp if you say she's not that organized to begin with?)

But yeah, I can honestly say in those 2 weeks I didn't want to talk to anyone, close friends, family, or whatnot. I just needed some time to process.

Claudia said...

Um, I don't even remember if I called my best friend (in another country) when DD was born. I know I called a forum friend so she could announce it to the baby forum...

Maybe you just need to be more direct with her. Meeting in the city at her house is the only viable option for you. That way you'll know she'll be there, even if she's not ready for you, hee hee.
And be direct about the lack of communication. Not in attack mode, of course, but say what you expected, and see what she had been capable of at the time.

It really sucks to be on uncertain footing with friends. I've just experienced that, and I was shocked at my initial reaction. I'd felt dumped (even though I wasn't), and cried! All's well now, and I just seemed to have misread what was going on. They just got really occupied with other stuff for the summer, but we had dinner with them last weekend, and we seem to be normal. Shrug. So hard to keep our feelings in check, isn't it?

Anyway, have an awesome vacation!

paola said...

I'm more like you and @eep in regard to friendships, and so is hubby, but I have realised we are not all the same, so as difficult as it is, I just have to accept, that not everyone is like us.

Oh, and I have been thinking recently that it is funny how women categorise friends, like, my BBF, second best, third best etc. Men don't, or don't as much. Dd who is 4.5, has had a 'best' friend from like, day one of school. Ds, is friends with everyone. Hubby too. Me, I desperately need ot know where I stand with my friends, I 'need' a BBF, but not always easy when you move around a lot or live far from oldest and dearest.

mom2boy said...

I did not have a list of people to call after DS was born. Couldn't tell you if or when I called anyone. I think eventually people came by the house but not because I set anything up.

Also, I have a good friend who still teases me about the fact that the first couple of times she came over to my house I never offered her anything to eat or drink. She still talks to me (and comes over to my house) so my lack of hospitality must be offset by some other good quality. :)

I would cut your friend some slack but also find a time to be direct about how you are feeling. Sitting back and waiting for people to act or behave a certain way just fuels the resentment fire, imo.

I hope you guys have a great vacation!!!!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I think it is easy to judge others by our own strengths, you know? I have a friend who can't keep her house uncluttered and I find I just want to, you know, do it for her because HOW HARD CAN IT BE? Because that's something I find in my life to be a) critical for my sanity and b) not too difficult to do. Then I remember that it isn't so easy for everyone.

I, on the other hand, find it hard to keep in touch with people. I want to do it just perfect and say just the right thing, and then time gets away from me and I'm too embarrassed to write or call at all... so, maybe your friend is like that, too?

(For what it's worth, I'm working on just keeping in contact with people already and who cares if I embarrass myself. But it requires me to leave my comfort zone, for sure.)

Or, more likely, it sounds like your friend may just have trouble prioritizing things in her life. So, as you've guessed, it probably isn't personal, but... I guess I'm one for just airing grievances, merited and less so, out loud.
I'd say something like, "I know you probably didn't mean this to have this effect, but this is how it felt to me..." If she's a real friend, she'll get it, and you'll feel much better. I'd also be very upfront about what kind of scheduling BS you're willing to put up with when you're visiting because, yes, she does have a new baby, but that doesn't mean that what you need doesn't count.

Or maybe I'm just getting pushy and a tad bit too direct these days. :) Anyway, I can think of at least one important recent example in my life when this strategy paid off, and I have a much better relationship as a result. YMMV, of course.

paola said...


paola said...

I'm not stalking you, promise!

I just started reading a book this morning about helping kids succeed at school and there was an interesting section about making friends and the differeences between male and female friendships. It mentioned that males are more likely to be 'friendly' with a large group, gaining confidence from being able to talk and play with a range of different characters, where as girls often need specific friendships, fall out more, but also have deeper connections with their friends. Interestingly, this is probably due to the fact, that our hunter forefathers had to get on with a range of other males practically and easily. For females, left together in the community, social intereactions were intimate and more complex, and of paramount importance.

So, yeah, it seems, I wasn't imagining it.

I'll stop bothering you now.

nicoleandmaggie said...

'Then I finally have a moment of clarity: "Oh, my Type A way is not normal?"'

That's a good moment of clarity to have. Not taking things personally, also a good thing to do.

Cloud said...

Hey, happy vacation! I'm just back, which is why my comment is so late.

I will join the chorus of "give her a break".... I totally didn't call anyone for ages after giving birth. Although I did answer emails. I sent out the mass email w/the info (actually, Hubby sent it for me almost immediately post-partum, with a list I set up ahead of time). And then I answered emails personally as they came in.

But I don't call people much in the best of times. I suck, I know. But I prefer email or face-to-face.

Anyway, I hope the visit is awesome, as is the rest of the trip. We had a great time, even w/o a break from the kids. More on that coming later....

caramama said...

I hope you had a great vacation!

As I'm sure you've noticed with my posting and commenting, I'm not as on top of things as I wish I was. Like others have said, I mean to do things but don't do it right off and then time gets away from me. I've joked before with some of my close friends that only people very forgiving of long lapses in communication are willing to be friends with me!

Blue said...

I think I'm a lot like you on this one. I have always has high expectations of my friendships to the point of becoming disappointed by them. I have had a few good friendships that, over time, evolved into my realization that without my effort, this person and I would cease to communicate ever again.

On the other hand, I can be a bit of a selfish person and I sometimes play the victim card. Not proud of it, but it's a fact. And at these times, I try to remember that it's not all about me and there are other things that I totally suck at as a friend, so who am I to expect perfection.

I do hope you were able to see your good friend and her new baby during your trip. I don't think her requests of you to drive hither and yon to meet up were reasonable; however, the new baby phase of life can be super debilitating. Postpartum depression can make a person temporarily unrecognizable but it doesn't last forever, thank goodness. Shudder...

hush said...

Thank you all for the insightful comments! I would have replied sooner and individually, but our daytime sitter decided to (kind of) give notice of her intent to possibly stop working the day we got back from the trip (grrr....), so life is kind of shitty right now without much time for bloggy fun. But it was a great trip, so let's talk about that instead!

We ended up getting to see S, hooray! S, her DH, and newborn babe finally rolled into town that night at 9:45pm. Ugh. Luckily, we had totally expected her to be late and had a delicious dinner by ourselves at 5pm. Yay us. It was precious to hold a 7 lb, 3-week-old baby, and S seemed to be doing ok.. except for her marriage, that is. There were more than a few comments made which gave the overall impression that all is not well between S and her husband. The main one being this comment from S: "DH talks to the baby so sweetly - he's NEVER said anything even remotely like that to me, unfortunately." Gah! So I'll be worrying about her, and them, and checking in as much as I can from 2 times zones away.