This morning I took the baby to a fancy local hotel to have brunch with an old friend and her baby, who is close to the same age. She’s in town with her husband, who has some kind of work conference, and she sent me a message a few weeks ago to see if we could get together.
I was surprised to hear from her. Very surprised.
I haven’t seen her in person in more than five years. The last time I saw her I was flying through the town she still lives in, and we met for a quick bite at the airport. This was the first time she met the baby, and she still has not met our youngest daughter. Strange, considering she is godmother to our oldest.
The last time we had anything approaching a real conversation it was on gchat, more than four years ago. I had been going through what was, objectively and subjectively, and rather obviously, a difficult time. She was busy, I know, and it is her personality, as it is mine, to kind of flake and disappear, so I wasn’t mad that she wasn’t around. Truthfully, not many people were, and that’s largely my responsibility. I’m not great at asking for help. Or admitting I’m struggling with something.
When we did chat, I was working on a lesson plan while my older kids napped (they used to nap at the same time; I was kind of a genius in some very meaningless ways), and she signed on and greeted me warmly. I had only just started telling people about the divorce, and I was kind of nervous to tell her about it. Her parents are very conservative Catholics, and I think she is too, but mostly because we hadn’t talked in a long time and I had a lot to tell her.
She cut the conversation short, said something about how she would pray for me and wished I would reconsider because it’s so hard on children, which she knows I’m well aware of. I think my jaw was literally open, but as I said, it was a long time ago. I didn’t hear from her after that for a long time.
She invited me to her wedding back in 2012, but I couldn’t go. I’m not sure I would have even if I could have, I was still pretty mad. And hurt. She sent me a message late that summer after I posted something about preparing for the bar exam, and a congratulations note a few months after that. I didn’t respond to either. She liked a few of my posts and commented on a few others, and eventually I started to feel guilty and selfish and started liking her posts and congratulating her successes when it seemed appropriate.
This morning I took a long minute to decide what to wear. I took a shower. I combed my hair (sort of). I even wore my fancy shoes.
As I drove out to her hotel in pounding rain and typical traffic, I thought about how important it is to let bad things go. I don’t want to be someone who carrie#zs hurts around, and really, I don’t think that’s who I am. The situation with her is slightly more complicated, because her husband works for one of the best friends of a very selfish and bad man. I don’t know what her relationship is with this SBM, but I’m not one to take chances on that sort of thing. Anyway, I was thinking about how all of the things they say about opening up and being vulnerable and letting all of the fear wash away are great, but when kids are involved, when you are responsible for the wellbeing of tiny little people, all of that goes out the window.
We sat outside under an awning and ate our breakfast with the two little boys, listening to the rain. We had a lot to catch up on. Moves, career changes, relationship developments, children. We didn’t even have a chance to talk about any of our classmates and I realized after I got home I forgot to ask about her father, who had some kind of health problem years ago.
It was a perfectly pleasant interaction. I spoke more about unpleasant things than I would have liked to, but I was happy to hear about her life and to see that she has found happiness.
There was a point to this story when I started writing it, I think. Something about learning how to take people as I find them, accepting people as flawed but valuable individuals (including myself), but I got distracted somewhere along the way. Sorry about that.
On a fairly unrelated note, today is March Day, or, depending on your politics, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I tweeted snark earlier about it being the day that every person becomes an expert in constitutional law, suggesting people might actually read the decision and attempt to discern from where this “right” comes. It felt satisfying in the empty way passive aggression usually does.
What I really wanted to say, and I can say it here, because this is my blog, is that I want people to not be assholes. I would like for people to not be assholes and to not be idiots and to not be liars. I would especially like for people to not be idiot asshole liars. And yes, I am being judgy about people being judgy. But I’m judging myself too, so it’s ok.