Sunday, October 21, 2007

Go-To-Gal on hiatus

I used to be the go-to gal. Need something? You can count on me. I relished being a good friend and loyal family member. Being devoted to others in a meaningful way is not easy, but I took it on as a full time job. And I enjoyed the fruits of my labors. For example, my college friend Jill had an internship in Boston which ended around midnight. I would drive to meet her from my toasty bed on campus, even on the chilliest of evenings. We would have a late dinner at an upscale 24 hour sushi restaurant, and unpack our days as we dipped our sashimi. Also in college, I spent a combined 12 hellish hours on a bus from Boston to New Jersey, all to spend a laughter filled weekend with my friend Tamar in a dank dorm room. When my mother needed an MRI ten years ago, I appeared on her doorstep at the crack of dawn to take her to the hospital, even though I lived in a different city. When my mommy-mentor Candice had her children and I had not yet taken the leap, I would take several trains after work to reach her downtown home and the $20 cabride back, just to stare at their perfect little faces for inspiration. Back then, it was easy to stretch myself to the point of snapping to be there for someone else, and to get back just as much.

That was BKE: Before Kids Era.

Nowadays, I am so consumed in the little details attached to my little darlings, that I have let my previously held commitment to excellence in the realm of relationships fly out the window, along with my taut stomach and low bloodpressure.

The plans I make with other people have become elastic, stretching and bending to meet the ever changing needs of my day. At best, it feels impolite and at worst it feels obnoxious, but with two children who need me to wipe their asses and one who literally feeds off of my flesh, my verbal commitment has to have the texture of bubble gum with the same ability to pop at any moment.

Take this weekend. I made plans on Friday evening to attend a children's service with a friend and her daughter at 5:00. At 4:30, Chloe was still napping. Now if there is anything I am "sanctimommious" about, it's kids and sleep. I never wake my children up unless it is absolutely vital. I believe they need every ounce to fortify their constantly growing bodies. But I was sure Chloe would wake up soon. She'd been down over two hours. I left a message, telling my friend I would be there, but late. Then I left another, saying we'd miss it altogether, but let's meet up at a fall festival the next morning at 11:00. Saturday morning arrives, and my husband (knowing nothing of these plans) starts doing laundry at 9:30. I know we won't be out of here by 11:00, and yet, I am still hopeful. I tell my friend to swing by to pick us up on her way. When she nears, we are still up to our elbows in Dreft. I tell her we will meet her there. We get there at 12:00. I have made a plan already to go to a lecture at a new baby store at 1:30. But by 1:00, the kids are starving and no where near napping, and I don't want to leave the party nor my husband with the two kids. I text another friend who was planning on going to the lecture that we would meet up at the park later. Well later becomes too late, both our kids sleep until 5. Sunday, I have tentative plans to meet a friend in the afternoon. I miss her call, and then spend two hours in a panicked conversation with my husband about my career woes. Tears ensue. When I finally come up for air, I reach my friend, and tell her I will be ready by 3:00 (this time, the kids actually wake up on time). But now she is busy, likely having wondered what had become of me.

And so on, and so on...

I wish I could say that I was wracked with guilt -- how have I become such a flake? But as I told my husband -- if I were had to be held in stone to every plan I made, I would never see a single soul. Because right now, just keeping these children alive is a full time job. I plead the understanding of all involved, that this is a temporary lapse in manners and mobility, and I hope to be reinstated to the positions of "friend who is on top of everything" and associated with words like "reliable", "punctual" and even, "the best."

The good news is, this stretchy street is two ways. When someone cancels on me, I don't even blink. When I made a date with a new friend she punched it into her iphone. "Let me just warn you," she said, "I am queen over double booking". I loved this. A pre-emptive cancellation policy. Unreturned phone calls, broken playdates, my birthday goes ignored and frankly, it makes me feel better. We all have busy lives, be it kids or work or just wanting to focus on ourselves. We can only hope that we will continue to find our way back to those we love, whether it's a foot on a calf in the middle of the night or a girls night out once a month -- we'll keep trying to show we care, even when we can't be all there.


At 7:30 PM PDT, Anonymous gila said...

we can't all be "superwoman"... but you sure come close!! xoxo

At 1:49 PM PDT, Anonymous gila said...

p.s. you're doing GREAT - don't change a thing.

At 4:10 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice fill someone in on and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.


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