I know you sent me a text three days ago. I was going to respond, but then I got distracted by the fighting kids and the laundry on the couch and the beeping of the oven timer. By the time I recovered from the non-stop of mothering, I completely forgot you had texted me. I remembered a little before midnight, but I decided you were likely sleeping, so I didn’t respond. I need to apologize to you. I’m sorry motherhood has made me a bad friend.
I know you understand. But I still feel the need to explain. This season of life is demanding. I have young children. They have not learned how to tie their own shoes, make their own sandwiches, or fill their own milk cups. So from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed, my time is spoken for.
I love it, you know. I love motherhood. I love this life. It’s a sacred calling, and I am so blessed that I get to live it. I prayed for these children, but this job can be overwhelming. It can be all-consuming. And friendships require communication. They require cultivation. I know that when we are texting back and forth for 12 minutes and then I go silent, it might send the wrong message. It might look like I don’t care or I’m not listening. Or I am busy doing a dozen things more fun than talking to you. I promise that I do, I am, and I am not.
If I could text you through these things, I would tell you I am sorry I had to put down my phone, but my daughter has once again taken off her diaper, dragged her training potty in front of the TV, and is currently walking around bottomless through my living room, threatening my new rug with whatever bodily urge might hit her. And so I abandon our conversation to run to get another diaper and wrestle it onto her little behind.
But by the time I am finished with this task, it’s snack time, and so I have to run down the list of every single food item our pantry holds while the children decide what they will have for snack. One has food allergies that the other one doesn’t, so of course I present two separate lists. And so it goes. Snacks, drinks, clean up, go play, and please don’t hit your sister.
And night time. Oh, night time. It used to be for going out and coffee shops and late night breakfasts. Now it is bath time, prayers, stories, songs, good night, and please don’t get out of bed again. And then I am spent. All hollowed out.
I find a place on the couch for a few precious minutes of nothing. I breathe deeply and mindlessly scroll through social media. I read. I watch 22 minutes of a rerun of Friends. (TV parents can have children and still spend hours in coffee shops with their friends, apparently. It took them 10 whole seasons to move to the suburbs and never see each other again. And seriously, where IS Emma when Rachel and Ross are at Central Perk? Who is watching Emma?) Then it is time for sleep. And I wake up to do it all again, with variations of church and work and doctor’s appointments.
So please don’t think I don’t miss you. I miss sitting down over brunch and talking without the interruption of tiny voices. I miss late nights listening to music, drinking coffee, and not thinking about what time little ones will be waking up the next morning. I know you have your life, too. You have your own family and responsibilities, and this is just a weird season where we don’t see each other much.
One day life will be less demanding, and we will take that girls’ cruise we have talked about. We will go to lunch at a restaurant without a playground or a kids’ menu. Maybe I will call you, and we will talk on the phone for an hour without anyone interrupting or needing anything from us. It will be glorious. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be here. Just text me. Keep sending me funny memes. Tell me about your day. I’ll either respond in 30 seconds or three days, but I promise, I’ll respond.
Your friend always,