22 June, 2014

A scene ...

Two female friends are chatting.  One, the one without kids, discovers that the one with kids is having a party. 

“You’re having a Halloween party?”  she says, surprised she didn’t know about it.  “When were you going to ask me?”

“Yes,” says the mother, guiltily, realising she hadn’t mentioned it to her childless friend.  “It will be full of kids, and I know you hate them.”

“I don’t hate kids,” No Kids friend says indignantly.  “And I love YOUR kids.”

“OK, good,” says the mother, defensively,“come to the party.”

No Kids friend is hurt.  The invitation seemed grudging and was most definitely an afterthought, she felt left out, and her love for her friend’s children had been discounted and forgotten.  She was losing her friend; a friend who was shutting her out, instead of inviting her in.

A scene from real life?  Not quite, but close to experiences I’ve had – though usually I found out about parties afterwards.  Or wasn’t forceful enough to say that I would have liked to be invited.  (So of course, it happened over and over again.)

No, this was a scene between Cristina and Meredith, on Grey’s Anatomy.  It was nice to see such a real scene, so subtly done, included in a popular programme.  So often these complexities of real relationships between mothers and their non-mother friends are ignored by modern media.  But not on Grey’s.  It was the first programme to – in my experience at least – show an ectopic pregnancy, and show some of the grief of that.  It was Cristina again  - she’s such a well-written character.  And I've written before about how they deal with the issue of women and mothers.  But back to the scene ...

The awkwardness of the conversation between the two, the hurt on Cristina’s face, and the guilt on Meredith’s, was authentic but not laboured.  It was simply there, to be seen and hopefully understood. Perhaps women who relate primarily to the mother would have interpreted the interaction differently?  I don't know.  But the episode ended with Cristina turning up to the party (having brought cupcakes as requested), looking at her friend so involved with her children and those of her friends, and quietly leaving, feeling she had no place there.

I was watching the end of a friendship – or at least, the changing of a friendship to something much less than it had been – and it was so familiar to me.  I had been there.  And even now, it makes me sad.


  1. Unfortunately I don't watch Grey's Anatomy (we've been watching and following too many other series), but I also can relate to this type of change in friendship. In fact, I've recently just had to downgrade my friendship in order to save my sanity AND the friendship itself. It took me months of struggle before I could finally let go of my expectations of them (that makes me feel relieved and light). Maybe I should write about it in my own blog. Thanks for the idea! :-)

  2. I wish my best friend would watch Grey's Anatomy to see this scene. But I guess she wouldn't REALLY understand it. And nothing would change.

  3. I saw this episode. Before we adopted Boo, I always felt a bit awkward around my friend's kids, not because I didn't love their kids, but because I was yearning for my own. I felt like I was missing out somehow. And now I don't get to see my single, non mum friends because of lack of time or distance. My life is lived around my kid's schedule. I often wish I had other things to say other than what funny thing my kid said. Ah, the grass is always greener.....

    1. I think what you've pointed out is that we all lose, and that is what sad. I'm pretty sure that at least one of my friends also feels sad at the way our friendship changed. There's no blame. Just loss. And hopefully recognition and gratitude for what we had.

  4. I don't watch Grey's either, but I know Cristina is an icon to a lot of childless/free women. I am glad the producer/writer did not cave & suddenly have her adopt or something (which happens so often on TV, it seems :p ).