I am not even sure if you will read this, and to my knowledge, you are not currently a mom. I say that because I am not sure if you have been in the past and just are not presently. I am not sure if you even want to be. And to be honest, it is really not my business at all. You don’t owe me an explanation, and you certainly are not any more or less wonderful to me either way.
But the reason I am writing this letter in such a public way is that I want to apologize for the way that our lives have become distant from one another. The easy excuse would be for me to say that though we were close 10 years ago, the hours between where we both live now and the simple passage of time have led to us not seeing one another in far too long. But some part of me wonders if the distance, literal and emotional, has become even greater to cross because I have let my being a mother become too large a portion of my personal identity—an identity that you and I do not share.
Even though I would like to think that I am not a typically jealous person, I want to confess that I sometimes see your life through the social media lens and feel a pang of longing for the freedoms you get to enjoy. You travel to exotic places all over the world that I sometimes have never even heard of. You do cartwheels on the beach while looking beautiful in a bikini. You support your husband in his demanding job with grace and attend charity benefits in elegant gowns. You make delicious-looking meals from the vegetables you actually grow in your garden. And you drink charming cups of coffee in little cafes that could be scenes from a movie.
And because we are not as close as we once were, that social media lens is sometimes what I use to unfortunately frame my opinion of you. I never see you in moments of frustration or anger or loneliness or despair. I never see you complaining or feeling guilty or just flat worn out. You have curated a joyful, happy, and vibrant collection of your life’s moments for people like me to consume. I don’t know if your life is working out exactly the way you want it to or if you wish things were different. I sadly realized that I think of you as someone that no longer needs my friendship because I don’t have much excitement to offer.
It can be easy for moms to get wrapped up in what I like to call “Survival Mode.” (As in, my house is never clean other than maybe one room that I just finished and my children have not come back into. And sometimes we eat breakfast for dinner. And I am grateful when I only forget ONE thing per day and am only about 10 minutes late somewhere instead of 30.) Sometimes moms only have so much energy and focus to give out, and the friendships that were once the highlights of our lives end up placed on the back burner.
To make matters even harder, you have been nothing but kind to me. You send my children thoughtful gifts, and you write lovely handwritten cards of sympathy or congratulations. Never once have you been judgmental or made me feel inferior. If you weren’t such a wonderfully gracious person, my jealous side might take over and cut the heartstrings that tie us together and I would watch you float away like a shiny balloon.
But here is the important thing that I want to tell you: I still love you and think of you as one of the best people I know. I remember how much joy and positivity you brought to my life all those years ago, and I admire that you still seem to be that exact same person now. The fact that you don’t have children shouldn’t be a barrier that I let stand between us. The fact that I do have children doesn’t preclude me from having friends who don’t. We are still just two women who love to laugh and dance and enjoy a beverage, be it coffee or wine. And I am going to keep holding onto my heartstrings, hoping that you will still welcome me when I can finally pull us back together.
P.S. Happy birthday to you, my dear friend.