Monday, November 29, 2010

Letting go.

I think I've stewed about this long enough. I'm ready to get it off my chest. No one involved even reads this (or knows about it; that would imply that they actually were interested enough in my life to care), but I think I'll feel better just by getting it out. And if by chance, one of the involved parties stumbled onto this by accident, fine with me. I'm sure my take on the situation will be skewed by hurt and anger, but as I haven't spoken with anyone else involved for almost a year (and don't plan on contacting them to find out what they thought), you'll just have to go with my side of the story.

I had some friends. They were good friends for a while through many church events, bridal showers, weddings, and countless baby showers. One of them was the maid of honor in my wedding. Then, something happened. I"m not sure what it was exactly, but I suspect part of it was simply, life.

And then it was my turn to have a baby shower. The friends planned it. And it was nice. But that was it. The other baby showers I helped throw (and sometimes, hand--washed 40 sets of antique china for) were extravagant. They were full of vintage details, hung banners, amassed glassware, linen tablecloths, and full teas for 40 served on china. I slaved at these showers. My shower boasted paper plates and cups, disposable tablecloths, and nary a vintage detail in sight. I was hurt, but I didn't say anything. Part of me wanted to attribute it to the fact that the friends were busy with children of their own. One was pregnant herself; I'm sure she was tired. This thinking helped me get [mostly] past my hurt feelings. Then, I had my baby and I thought I was going to die. Lots/most people have a great experience. Mine was jarring from the start when I needed an emergency C-section. Then, I had every breast-feeding issue known to man, along with various other personal issues. I felt alone and I couldn't leave the house because when I wasn't crying, I was pumping. (I suspect I had some post-partum depression.) Finally, (and I credit the Kaiser Permanente lactation consultants and God) things turned around...just in time for me to go back to my full-time job. This didn't hasten away any lingering sadness I felt. I coped as well as I could and spent every precious minute when I wasn't at work holding that darling baby. I wasn't willing to give up any of my free time for things like "half-hearted shower giving" friends, not that they were calling (or arranging meals to be brought. That task was undertaken by one of our guy friends. Yes, a GUY. And he did a great job.)

Come winter, one of the girls in the group got engaged. She was getting married hours away from where I lived on the weekend before Christmas. For many reasons, I knew we wouldn't be able to attend. I had a good conversation with her about this and made sure she knew I hoped she didn't feel obligated to ask me to be in her wedding. We parted happily. Then, via Facebook, I discovered that every one of our other friends was in her wedding. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to not be in her wedding. However, it would have been nice (in my opinion), if she had told me that everyone else was going to be in it. I would have felt left out anyway, but finding out on Facebook was like a slap in the face. Fast forward to her bridal shower weekend. Originally, there was just a Saturday shower which I was planning to attend. Then, the friends decided to throw together an intimate Friday night bachelorette party. I decided to forgo the Saturday shower and just attend the Friday night party the night before, mostly because I could go to this after my son was asleep for the night and I wouldn't miss any time with him. When I arrived (a little late as I told them I'd be after putting my son to sleep), no one, but the bride, acknowledged me. I felt invisible and unwanted. Then a game was played and we had to partner up. One of the friends asked to be my partner and I felt better because they were now including me. Until we won and she said, "I knew we would win. That's why I wanted to be partners with you." Thanks. I'm glad that's all I'm good for. I didn't stay very long after the gifts were opened. And that is the last time I've seen or spoken with the friends.

Not long after this, I learned that the shower they threw that Saturday was the most lavish one to date. Apparently, they weren't too busy to throw a shower for someone they cared about. I was hurt (then angry) for a long time after this, but I've come to realize many things in the past year. First, I don't think they were very good friends to begin with. On some level, I always knew the two of them had each other and the rest of us were just on the sidelines. I just never expected to get pushed completely off. Second, they are lucky enough to stay home with their children, something I've wanted ever since I can remember. Since we like being able to pay our mortgage every month, I must keep working until my husband gets a fantastic promotion, he finds a much higher paying job, we win the Publisher's Clearing house (which I enter every day), or I find a job where someone pays me to read. I think the friends must have no imagination because my having to work was something they never seemed to understand. And now, since I'm out of their lives they won't have to stretch themselves and try to understand it. That must be a relief to them. Third, I would much rather spend my free time with my husband and child than with friends who make me feel like they are judging me the whole time I am with them.

Nonetheless, the way they treated me still has the power to hurt sometimes. Like recently, when one of my co-workers ran into one of the friends at Pottery Barn and my co-worker mentioned me to her. And the friend didn't even acknowledge my name. I like to think I am above this type of behavior and past it all. I think I mostly am. It's a process and it's getting easier. I am hopeful that by this time next year, I will have gotten past the hurt and anger completely and moved on to some richer and truer friendships. But that doesn't mean the friends should expect a Christmas card from me.