I know you may not believe me, especially if you have been around us for the past 3 years, because it seems like all we have the capacity to talk about or relate about is children, but as parents, we need and LOVE our non parent friends. We want you to know that the gaps in our communication, our sudden onset of “I just can’t, I am not up for it tonight” flakiness, and endless string of what seem like exaggerated excuses as to why we can’t, no really can’t, come to that 6pm dinner party because our children will lose their minds and we will too, were never a sign of us falling out of love for you, our non parent friends.
In fact, it was quite the opposite, however we had no way of saying or sharing it. How did we know that we would face such all consuming, can barely breathe or function, years (not weeks or months like either of us thought it would last) of our life? It was so startling to us and the inability to form a coherent thought caused us to we fall short of communicating with you that, in fact, we needed and appreciate your company more than ever.
You see, us parents, especially in the first few years (yes years… again I thought it would only last months… nope it is years) as our children require our bodies, our time, our attention, our thoughts, worries, and laughs, we are struggling every day to maintain ourselves, our own identity. You, our non parent friends, are the only people who are able to remind us, to facilitate in those toughest of times, a light that shines ahead on who we are and always have been. We need this so much because in order to be a decent spouse and a decent parent, we need to be reminded how to be decent to our individual soul, and you my friend are the only one who can do that.
The fact that you do not have children yet, that your brain may be scrambled eggs not because of kids but because of work or you pets or your significant other, means you can throw us a life saver and help us when we cannot help ourselves. When we spend time with you away from the family you don’t have to reschedule on us 19 times because of a sick kid or nap time and we actually get to hold commitments without rescheduling 19 times too! You have no idea how exhilarating this is! We need this.
We need more than ever to have experiences that ignite our soul apart from being a parent, that give us joy and fulfillment and connection. Oh my connection. Not the ranting, venting, “no one else could understand this thing called parenthood” connection that we need and survive off of with our parent friends. No we need connection with you, your world, your ambitions, your perspective.
But we never ask for it, we feel selfish. Until one day, the withdrawal of not having you in our lives got so great that we decide, screw it, and figure out a way to make it work AROUND the kids, with them, or away from them.
We still talk about them constantly, and probably make everything sound like our life is so much harder than yours, but don’t mistaken it for us really thinking that way; we love you and need you. We need you to nurture us, as the people you knew before we were parents, and as the people we are becoming as parents. We need you to help us laugh, and find joy in the ridiculous, and the nonchalant. Everything becomes dire and so serious as a parent sometimes, we need your spirit that is not in the mud with us to remind us to keep moving forward. This time with you feeds our soul. Thank you for letting us continue to be in your life even if we always smell like bodily fluids and always ask, “Do you hear my kid crying too?”