Never in my wildest dreams did I surmise that my friends having children would impact my life so greatly. After all, they are the ones who experienced the many sleepless nights and countless bottle and diaper changes, not us. However, the arrival of the kid changed the entire dynamic of the relationship we had with the parents. Whether or not they realized it the new arrival sent us all in a new direction. In some cases, the announcement of a pregnancy turned us later into the pallbearers of the pain and sorrow of the miscarriages and fertility treatments our friends went through to have a child. It is foolish to believe that the aftermath of the process didn’t change our perspective on life and parenthood. It happened to us too.
Almost overnight we went from dancing at the club untill the wee hours of the morning to birthday parties at The Little Gym. Our friends and family members with kids morphed into safety advocating, always tired and oftentimes disheveled beings that can’t stop cleaning everything in the path or wake of their child. Those who had steady partners, a supportive family or extended circles fared a bit better, retaining some sort if normalcy because they got good advice and many needed breaks. I made sure to lend a hand to the stay at home moms and those at it alone, especially those who confided in us that they were going crazy because all the hear is Frozen day in and day out. They miss talking to an adult. We miss talking to adults too.
Running after screaming toddlers seems to be the main source of exercise for my pals these days. XD
The conversations with my peers have quickly moved away from work, play and horrible bosses to the best car seat, chewing toy or pre-school. I’ve had to do some research on these subjects to be able to put in a word edgewise. My husband avoids the subjects like the plague. He endures the shopping trip and the subsequent baby shower because on occasion, we are tasked with bringing the booze and the adult talk to the events allowing our friends to turn into themselves for a spell. We are still exhausted from the excitement of all the wedding and baby announcements. We are tired of attending the same type events but we don’t have a choice. It is the new world order and there’s no point fighting it. If we want to see our friends and their kids we have to suck it up and smile for the cameras.
*We are so happy for you!* – Plop
My husband is lucky that the guys seem to bounce out of dad mode around him. He becomes the dealer of sports stats, beer and wine tips and BBQ recipes. Lucky him. I’m stuck with the mommy talks, fixing toys and helping batteries disappear.
For a couple of years now our friends have started to slowly drop in and out of the grid; first because they were newlyweds and later because they were pregnant or recently had a second baby. It was hard to adapt but we pulled through. No one could hang out with us on a day’s notice anymore. The horror! (:P) We had to put a few friendships on ice because they couldn’t fit us in their schedules or were reluctant to bring their children to our gatherings. My husband was upset because the guys disappeared from the game lobbies and many were doomed to never return to gaming because their wives insisted the video games were too violent or time consuming. 😦 It was hard not to resent them but we did our best to comprehend and move on.
Allow me to explain why we say we began to resent people. Our house was, for nearly a decade, a safe haven for all my friends as they moved to the PNW. To accomodate and lessen the NO RSVPs we baby proofed the entire first floor and had a kid area so the parents could let their hair down during our famous sports and Halloween parties. Our entire game plan changed to accomodate all types of guests. We even trained ourselves not to mind the last minute cancellations because they didn’t want to take the baby out in the cold or because their kids were sick especially when moments earlier they had checked in at a “competing” activity on Facebook. We avoided buying into the “they are not your friends if they did or said that” rethoric. Sadly our single friends ditched us because the family atmosphere dampened the mood. The competition between the newly formed circles was so fierce our party count went from a 1000 get togethers and activities a month to zero. The invitations to activities almost disappeared too.
Imagine our surprise when we started hearing about birthday parties and events we had missed because people asked us why we weren’t there. Turns out we hadn’t been invited! Gasp! Even our closest friends chose not to invite us to certain activities because they thought we would get bored or that we wouldn’t want to pay a cover charge to a beerless, snot filled fest. Our hearts broke when we realized all the mingling and close knit circles of friends we used to have were still going strong but this time at the daycare center or little league games. People had downsized their core groups, out of habit and necessity, to include those like them. We were out of sight, out of mind.
We had been reclassified to non essential personnel after all those weddings and babyshowers because we didn’t have children. *SMH*
Being put on the back burner forced us to adapt and embrace being the childless couple, a goal very few people set out to accomplish voluntarily. It was a long road fraught with a few disappointments and a lot of soul searching. For a time we thought we were the problem, not the circumstances, and our collective self esteem went down by a few points. We weren’t feeling the love. We didn’t understand their world any more than they understood ours. All that was left was to meet at the crossroads of our journeys and reminisce about our past. For a long time we feared we’d never see them again. That we would be shunned forever…
Little by little we established a new normal. Our single and double income no kids (DINKs) friends served as the light at the end of the tunnel keeping us busy until they had to bow out because they had kids too. It took a while but we have finally made peace with our demotion to the “acquaintances category” and managed to put on a brave face when we were received with questions like “Why are you here?”, “I didn’t know you were still close?” and “Why don’t you have kids?”. To top it off, a sizeable number of our close and long standing friends decided to move away to be closer to their families of origin. Respect! If they hadn’t moved we know we’d be partying to the wee hours of the morning together alongside their kids. If only we weren’t so far away!
Believe it or not we are eternally grateful for the lessons. For the opportunity to have been front and center in the rearing and education of these children if only for a short while. We wonder why we haven’t been blessed with children of our own and why destiny delt us this hand. The unfair situation has put our faith and relationship through a gauntlet test that gets harder as time passes. Adulting isn’t getting any easier for us either, please accept that too. Don’t assume we have it easy. You are the one that gets the hugs and kisses at the end of the day while we have to be content with watching from afar and through your newsfeed. If we are never given the chance to be parents, our hope is someday those kids we saw grow up and play in our house will come looking for your “old” friends. After all, to us, they are our friends too.