In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to make friends again

Last week I took my little people to the beach for the afternoon, which they love because they love playing in water and sand. Sitting there, by the lake, as I watched my little people play, I partook in one of my favorite activities, people watching. As I looked around me, at all the groups of moms laughing and talking together while their children played nearby, a sadness came over me as it dawned on me how much I miss being with other people...people with kids around the same ages as mine....or even just people that I can connect with.

The reality that the only people I know with kids the same age as my kids, are my young moms at the school. The thing is, I do have get together with my young moms outside of school, even though this is on my own time and I am not getting paid, it still feels like work. I do enjoy my time with them because I care about them and their children but our relationships are based on me giving and them taking. Does it make sense when I say that although I am myself with them in the sense that I don't change who I am just because I am with them but I also don't let my guard down and just relax with them either? Mainly because I am their mentor and support person and they look to me as their mother/grandma figure.

It never used to be this way. When my 5 kids were growing up, I had many "mom" friends with kids the ages of my own. I knew most of these moms from doing daycare, going to the early childhood program, my children's school and from church. We had a great "community" of moms and kids that got together the beach and parks, and at each others homes. We supported one another in many ways...through sicknesses,deaths, children getting into trouble, marriages that failed, sharing food, good times and much laughter.

I have continued to be good friends with some of these people but their children, like mine, are now grown up. Up until 2 years ago, I was part of that group of friends that had the new freedoms in life...freedoms that are found when your children grow up and out of your home.

Since my little people have come into my life, that has all changed...I no longer have the freedom...I am now one of those mothers with little children. So, although we are still good friends in the sense that they will always be my friends and I still talk to them on the phone and occasionally get together with them, things are very much different. Some of them work, some go to school, some have moved to neighboring towns as I have....our lives have changed and that's not a bad thing, it's just all so very different but life goes on. My life seems to have changed the most and that's why it feels like I don't quite fit in anymore.

I feel like I don't quite fit in any where for that matter. While none of my same age friends have little ones, most of them have not joined the grandma club as I have either. Since I don't do daycare in the normal sense anymore and the early childhood classes that run in my community are only available while I am at work and we no longer go to a church, I don't have the same avenues to make friends that I once had. Most of the people in my age group do NOT have little ones and most of the people that do, are much younger than me...not that I have a problem with that.

I moved to this small rural community 2 years ago after getting married to my husband. Although people are fairly friendly in general, people tend to stick with their own "kind" here...we have those that "party" a lot which is pretty easy to do when you have something like 8 bars on just one block and people this is a SMALL town...the thing is there is not much else to do around here so drink it is for many of the people and although I like to have a few now and then, I have no desire to do this every night(been there, done that, now I say I am just too damn old for that)!

We also have the church goers...those that are very much into the "do's" and "don'ts"...I used to be one of them so I am not putting them down. I am still a believer, I just don't believe the way they do anymore. I don't talk about this part of my life very often because of old wounds and not wanting to open them up. We will leave it at that.

I have been told by people that unless you were born and raised here, it is really hard to fit in. Isn't that the truth! But, I think you will find these things everywhere...I know other people that talk about feeling this way in their communities big or small.

What I am getting to is this...I am lonely and I feel disconnected from people, but, I don't know how to make friends anymore. I am starving for conversations with other moms of little people...I am wanting to have adult company with other people besides my husband...don't get me wrong, my husband is great and we get along great but I think both of us could use some friends. My husband has no friends that live around here...before he married me he tended to spend most of his time alone outside of work. Most days the only contact I have with another adult, other than my husband, and a friend that I talk to once a day, is on this computer, through the blogs I read and those that comment on my blog. I have met some great people on this wonderful world of Internet...without it right now I would be lost.

I am embarrassed to even admit this...of not knowing how to make friends or the fact that I feel that I don't fit in anywhere...that I feel shy and very self conscious when I am around people, when I have never really been this way before...that I question each and every day, what is wrong with me and then spend time each day trying to figure out just what is wrong with me and how to change it...that I am afraid that people won't like me...that they will judge me...or that I won't know how to gawd, am I back in high school or what?

The thing is, I know I am a nice person. I know I have things to offer other people...I'm a good listener, I don't judge, I am accepting, loving, caring...I know I am a good friend and I am fun to be least that is what I am told anyways. But, I do have fears of people really getting to know me, the real me, all the things that make up my life because I have been hurt in my past by people that I thought were my friends, that judged me or used me and then walked away.

You see, I can talk about all the things in my life on this blog because if one of you is judging me or thinking bad of me for something I share, so be it. Unless you leave a comment stating this fact, I don't have to know your negative thoughts towards me...I don't have to see you walk away or hear your disapproval. So, maybe part of me really does just want to hide here in my home because it's safer that way. I don't want to play it safe anymore...I want friends...I need friends. I need to connect.

PS If you made it this far, bless you and please forgive me my internet friends for this being so long...I have been surrounded by pee and poop for 3 days now and it is getting to me!


Bina said...

Wow. I think I could have written this, except I don't live in a small town anymore.

We are so much alike. If you only lived closer, we could get together on weekends, or every other weekend. I know your profile said "40 something" and I'm 44, and your are slightly younger cause my youngest is 5, but I bet we would get along just great!

And I have worked her for 14 years, and I still only have one friend, cause as you know, my other "friend" of 17 years that moved here last year completely broke my heart and destroyed my trust in her.

Yea, I sure wish we lived closer. But, where do you live? I live outside of Nashville.

Bina said...

Okay, I just saw on your profile you are in Minnesota! Dangit!

Bina said...

Me again (sorry). But I just read your post about your son becoming a man, and how you told him his momma is rocking your two babies in heaven and you are his mother here on earth.

I cried. That was such a beautiful post!

AND, your kids are all so good lookin', and your little man when he turned 3? Can a little boy BE any cuter????

Heather said...

Lori, thanks so much for writing this because now I don't have to. I live in a neighborhood full of younger mothers, but they're all of the stay-at-home variety and I feel a little disconnected from them because I work full time. When I come home from work, I really have no interest in socializing. I just want to relax and spend time with my family. Weekends are full of catching up on what was neglected during the work week, so it seems like I don't have a lot of time for a social life anyway.

I do feel very lonely at times, but I've also been through my share of one-sided relationships where the "friend" was more of a taker than a giver. As a result I've really lost the desire and the ability to make new friends. I have a really hard time trusting people now.

That being said, I don't think you or me or anyone should have to be anything other than who we are in order to make friends. If someone is unwilling to take me as I am, well screw 'em.

Claire Marie said...

Thank the universe for creating the internet. I too live in a rural community where I don't really see too many people having much in common with me. I have been too busy to feel alone in this age bracket of "mommyhood" but I know it is coming when things settle more.

So thank you universe for allowing some of us to find the connection to peers that we need even though the distance between is us great.

And a funny note to make us all feel better....My neighbor Sandra is a stay home mom of two. She and I can see each other if we are both standing outside the front door. If I threw a ball she could almost catch it. We still talk more through email and blog than we ever pick up the phone or get close enough to hug.

wrecklessgirl said...

i'm 27 years old, without kids, a silly person, (i'd like to think) social, ... and i have the hardest time making friends as aren't alone. i have a hard time connecting with people where i live and maintaining new relationships; i make the effort, and they still fizzle. i long for a couple really good friends, and my heart is sad because it's been so long since i had this.