By Maybe Lady Liz
My college roommate and best friend cried her eyes out the day I told her I was moving to California after graduation, more than 2,000 miles from her final destination of Chicago. We’ve done a relatively impressive job of keeping in touch over the last 8 years, and I think our bond deepened even more when we discovered we were the only people we knew who weren’t sure we wanted to have a baby. The topic dominated our phone conversations for years until I got the call that many of you probably remember receiving from your own best friend as they delivered those two fateful words: I’m pregnant.
Everything changed, of course, but after blogging on these sorts of topics for over a year now, it certainly wasn’t unexpected. She did an admirable job of giving me the non-sugar-coated truth about her unplanned life as a mom and carrying on conversations that weren’t interrupted every 10 seconds with baby cooing. I had high hopes that she’d be one of those parents who remembered and appreciated Life Before Baby, so I waited a respectable six months and planned a trip to meet the latest member of the fam in her new house in Nashville.
This was not an easy affair. Drama at work and sky-high plane tickets ($624 each!) made actually pressing the purchase button on Expedia a real knuckle-biting moment. But I was committed to making sure that my cheapness and laziness wouldn’t be responsible for our friendship not persevering through major life changes and cross-country moves.
Despite having discussed the trip for months ahead of time, my friend’s entire response to the forwarded itinerary was: “Yay! But you do understand that this isn’t going to be like old times, right?” Oh, you mean we’re not going to bong Bud Lights between breastfeeding sessions and subsist entirely on Taco Bell cheesy fiesta potatoes? What have I done?! Of course I knew it wasn’t going to be the same, nor did I want it to be. I’d have some serious concerns about her parental fitness if it was. But this mantra persisted throughout every conversation and email leading up to the trip (“You know we’re not going to be out till all hours, right?” “You know we’re not going to be livin’ it up like before, right?”). Yes, yes! I’ve received the memo, in triplicate!
I’m not sure what bothered me more: the fact that she thought I truly couldn’t process what a monumental life change she’d made and that it might affect our fun levels, or the fact that she didn’t even seem to want me to come or believe that we could now have fun in a different way. I would have been just as content to stay in and play board games while the baby slept, but instead we went out to dinner where my friend propped her cell phone up and touched the screen literally every 5 seconds to see if the sitter was calling until her husband told her she was being rude and we shut down the whole night.
And you know what? That’s okay, I get it – she was nervous leaving the baby with a sitter. I don’t think I would have even blinked about it if she hadn’t spent the month leading up to the trip promising me how much fun we weren’t going to have. I know she was just trying to temper expectations and make sure I wasn’t disappointed. Nobody likes to over-promise and under-deliver. But a little bit of faith in our friendship, a little bit of hope that that we could still have a great time under any conditions, would have left me with a better taste in my mouth, no matter what the outcome. Was that too much to ask?
Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.