This morning I heard a radio segment about a girl who called in saying how she felt overwhelmed and upset. She had moved away from home, and when she moved back she felt like all her friends had moved on and she didn't have the connections with them that she longed for. The radio hosts were quite mean, and basically told her to grow up. "You should be so busy going to college and taking care of your own business that you don't even have time for those friendships, anyway.", they told her. "You're sadly mistaken if you think that the friends you have at 20 will be the same friends you have at 30, so it doesn't matter anyway."
I thought to myself, maybe I'm just odd. Maybe I'm the exception. I had a discussion in one of my social networking groups recently that brought this to my attention, as well. The question was "Is your husband your best friend?" Most people answered yes. Now, I love my husband a great deal, obviously. And we have a great time together. But my husband holds a different position than friend. Husbands and wives have a different relationship than friends have, in my opinion. And while I can do the things with him I do with my friends, I still need my friends in my life. They fulfill a part of me that others don't. Just as my family fulfills a part, my husband fulfills a part, my sons fulfill a part, etc.
I realized in talking to most of the people who said that yes, their husband was their best friend and that honestly, they talk to other friends but they don't feel they need them, that I was the odd-ball. I'm 26 years old and my closest friends are ones that I've had since I was very young. One of which, I've had since I was 5 years old. And most of the others came along during middle school. I feel like I do need them. Of course, I've met other friends in adulthood and some of them have become very dear to me, as well, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ who have shown me such true love and important lessons. And I do need these people. I need them because they remind me of who I really am.
I love being a mother. I love being a wife. But those titles come with expectations. There is much pressure to do and to achieve. The relationships rely on certain expectations being met. I can't say to my kids "I need to just do me for a minute." That's not possible, not acceptable. If I have a rough day, it's hard to tell my husband "I just really wanted to sit here and just veg out today.." because that means that the functioning of our household got put on hold--things weren't cleaned, dinner wasn't planned, more work was made for him.
I have a certain expectation to remain strong in my household. I have an important position and everyone relies on me in some way. I understand how much of a blessing that is, but it also comes with a price. I love to serve my kids and my husband, but I can often get caught up in that and forget about the things that are just "Robin things".
I rely on my friendships to remind me.
If I want to turn on Erykah Badu and dance around for hours, my friends get that. They'll do that. They won't ask questions or be waiting for something else to happen.
If I want to watch Ax Men for 2 hours..not because it's a good show..but because it's just so easy to laugh at..my friends are fine with that. We do that. And they don't get upset that we talk the whole way through it. That's part of the fun.
If I want to drive around, and yell at people that are out in their yards..even if all I yell is the exact thing they are already doing (Yeah, you mow that grass! Walk that dog!), and it brings me an illogical amount of joy lol, my friends do that. They yell things like "Geneva Convention!" and "You're fake bald!" and we laugh at the looks we get until our sides hurt.
No one expects anything from me but to just simply be me. I don't have to look a certain way, I don't have to be making plans or fixing things or explaining myself.
I'm just Robin. And Robin is all that's needed in that moment. It's refreshing.
I often think about how I miss the days before my life became such a blur. I'm not at all saying I take these things for granted--my husband, his military career, our children..they are all blessings to me and I couldn't imagine my life without them. But that doesn't mean I don't miss the way things once were..when I actually saw my friends more than once a year. Or when I made it to my family functions and celebrated everyone's birthdays. When I had the time to do the things that brought me pleasure--like singing, and writing, and scrapbooking, and watching late night talkshows.
I try to make time for those things in my life now, but it's next to impossible. I want to write, but I don't have the time. Between the boys and school work and house work, it's just not there. Pumping out a quick blog like this is about all I can count on. I don't have the time or the focus to organize my thoughts for much of anything else. I want to sing, and I make time for it when I'm cleaning around the house..but there are always distractions. There is always a chaotic backdrop to my voice. There is no silent intimacy in which I can communicate my deepest fears, deepest passions..in which I can connect my heart strings with God's. I want to laugh with my family and friends, to goof-off, to let my guard down and just "be". But they are all hundreds of miles away..living their own lives..being everything for everyone around them, just as I am doing here.
Maybe I do need to grow up. Maybe this attachment of myself to other people is unhealthy or unnatural. I expect them to hold onto a piece of me that I often leave behind, so that when we are together, they can give that piece back to me, little by little. And perhaps, I'm asking too much.
But, that's just the way I am. I thought maybe I'd get used to the way things are now. I thought maybe I'd "grow up" and "move on" and I'd find that I didn't need those pieces to be held onto or replaced anymore because I'd discover how to nourish them and protect them alone. But that hasn't happened yet and I don't foresee it happening any time soon.
Here in this life I'm living--full of love, full of happiness, full of blessings and rewards, full of laughs with my husband, kisses from my children, pride in my educational accomplishments, experiences that I never thought I'd get the chance to experience...
There is still a heavy emptiness that hangs around me. There is still an image of my closest friends, and a piece of my true self with them, somewhere off in the distance. I reach out and I try to grab a hold, and even if only my fingertips rest there, I will not let go.
I miss you, friends. I miss the well-rounded feeling that you provide me. I miss the belly-laughs, I miss the shoulders to cry on, I miss the complete acceptance that I feel around you. I miss myself..the carefree person that you allow me to be.