Dear family and friends,
A little over three years ago something big happened in my life. I was fortunate enough to have you all there to celebrate the occasion. We were full of love, joy, and hope. Although I knew this event would change my life, I was utterly unprepared for one big thing. I had no idea that becoming a parent would change ‘us.’ I am no longer who I used to be to you and I am sorry.
I used to know every aspect of your life. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but we updated each other often enough that I knew 95% of what was happening in your life. Now, I’m lucky if I know the name of the person you are dating or what your latest work gossip is. Oh, you changed jobs? When did that happen? Your life keeps moving forward, as does mine, and I no longer have the honor of being privy to all the details.
I remember the carefree days of heading to a new dinner spot with just an hours’ notice. What about the afternoons we spent laying around completely engrossed in a random movie? Now spending time with me requires a month’s written notice, sent certified mail and signed in blood. I say “no” more often than I will allow myself to admit. Even when I am able to find a sitter or sneak away, my eye remains on the clock, ever cognizant of how much this is costing me either in money or in hours I will owe the husband later. I am no longer as available to you as I once was.
When we are together with the kids, one eye and one ear must remain attuned to them at all times. I know the three-year old is scoping out how to get his hands on something he shouldn’t be touching. Maybe the little one needs a bottle or to be changed. Inevitably, I need to pump. When we talk on the phone I am certain that it sounds like I have turrets; moving seamlessly from our conversation to yelling at someone in the background to “get that out of your mouth!” I am no longer able to provide you my undivided attention.
My life has changed and with it so has our relationship. As much as I love my children, I am not ok with this shift. I think about it often and I have found myself grieving the loss of what we used to be. I know you understand because you know me. I know you forgive me because I would forgive you. The logical side of my brain knows that life changes, priorities must shift and no one is to blame. The emotional side of it leaves me with an uncomfortable lump in my throat; it’s a tough pill to swallow.
Please stick with me as we get through this. I am told that one day, the kids’ friends will be so important they will only know I exist when they want something. It is my understanding that eventually, the big one will be able to babysit the little one. Some day is a long time to ask you to wait, but I need you to. If we can’t get back what we once had I wouldn’t be me. You see, your friendship, your love, and your support sustain me. I look forward returning to lazy afternoons and a spontaneous brunch together.
Until that day, please keep inviting me, keep calling me and let’s never stop being ‘us.’
Yolanda Jenkins is a wife, mother of 2, and an introverted leader. She can sometimes be found sharing the good, the bad and the ugly on IG @thislibralife.