When we can’t have children, and our friends can and do, our friendships face a precarious balancing act, needing sensitivity to a new mother’s single-minded focus on her children as well as sensitivity to the pain of a potential mother who has lost the future she’d hoped for. Even with the best of intentions, one or both partners in the friendship may slip and fall, and the friendship suffers damage.
As difficult as it can be when our friends are having children and we’re not, when we can feel cast aside and ignored, this time passes before we know it. Children don’t stay young forever, and our old friends eventually realise that their lives are actually not much different from ours.
A friend made that point to me - not to ignore what she has and I don’t, but to point out that the years of active parenting are relatively short, and that for the bulk of our relationship (ie the next 30 years or so) we will both be living no kidding lives at the same time.
Her children have now left home, and we can and do get together pretty much whenever we like, as the only things that get in the way now are work commitments, and caring for elderly parents.
Whilst we can hold onto those friendships that sustained us in our times of need, it is also possible to reclaim those old friendships - if they aren’t irretrievably damaged by harsh words and hurt
feelings on either side - too. As we rekindle these relationships, I like to think that they will be more sensitive, kinder and wiser, and a part of our lives for many more years to come.
Note: Klara, who is reclaiming a friendship as her friend's children grow, inspired this post.
Note 2: The lavender photo is from a weekend staying at my above-mentioned friend's house.