Friends with Benefits
For different periods in your life, different friends make a much-needed appearance
By Tamara Reese
I like to think I'm a pretty cool chick, a girl's girl, a pedicures on a whim and sure-I'll-split-that-monstrous-ice-cream-sundae-with-you-so-we-can-both-feel-guilty kind of girl. I like face products, and talking about face products. If you do something nice for me, you'll probably get a cupcake on your doorstep or at least a handwritten thank you note in the mail. But for some reason, despite my awesomeness, I have trouble keeping girl friends.
I didn't have a lot of "besties" in high school. I was smart and seemingly well-liked but my fiery temper and boy-crazy tendencies landed me a permanent seat in peer mediation for
hitting hobags with my car arguing with girls. The few friendships I did have fizzled out because after high school there were more miles between us than things we had in common.
But my college friends were great. They shut the blinds when I ran around drunk on Zima wearing only leopard-print pants and body glitter. They carried me home on my 21st birthday and stopped me from licking chocolate off the side of a garbage can that I had just puked in. My college friends knew me during the most carefree years of my life and supported me when I figured out that I was not a Republican and can't get away with platinum blonde highlights. And then college was over and distance, growing up, and busy lives took over.
Making new friends after college is complicated. You have work friends or random acquaintances that you might grab drinks with because you bonded over a shared obsession with Vera Bradley purses. You might have friends from your synagogue or friends via your husband, but those people are rarely mixed. They know the responsible you who stops at two pom-tinis but not the body-glittered free spirit hiding inside.
But friendship after baby is a special kind of unspoken bond. Our family relocated when my son was 10 weeks old. Our new city is beautiful, and busy and alive with culture, entertainment and nightlife--or so I hear. I haven't seen any of this, but I can tell you that there is a killer baby lap sit at the JCC on Tuesday morning and the breastfeeding support group is so good you have to get there early just to grab a seat. And the only people who give a crap about conversations like these are other mamas.
The friends I meet here only know me as a mama. We talk about sleep schedules and temper tantrums and will only occasionally happen upon a conversation about a book we've read or a current event (movies are even rarer, because who goes to those anymore?) Our friendships are intertwined with snacks, cleaning up toys, and getting home before bedtime. I like to imagine which one of these new friends was the topless lush in college…and then realized that most signs point to ME. I breathed a sigh of relief when one of my new girlfriends slipped up and dropped an F-bomb in front of me. I immediately wanted to bribe our husbands into watching the kids so we could flit off to some dance club wearing shirts that resembled placemats with floss backing. But then I realized our boobs would leak, it hurts to dance without support, and we can't drink anyway.
Different Times, Different Friends
I think of all the friends I've known in my life and how few of them I actually communicate with today. It makes me sad that I've lost touch with people who played crucial roles in the revolving chapters of my life. I'm thankful for each of them and hold on to the memories of our time together.
Then I think about all of my new friends and even some old friends with whom I've reconnected with since expelling another human from my private parts. I think about people I've met through blogging (online! gasp!) who I consider to be my friends even though we've never met in person. Someone once told me that friends are like seasons. They are there for a particular period of time when they fit perfectly into your life, but some don't seem to stand the test of time and end up blowing away like leaves in the fall. Each season is appreciated and missed, but you look forward to the next.
I recently had some of my mama-friends over for cupcakes and wine with a side of Wii Just Dance 2. The wine was never opened, but the cupcakes were gone and we danced like it was 1999 (only this time I was sober and fully clothed). I kind of like this friendship season. I hope it stays a while.
Read here for another Mom's attempt to make some ever-important mommy friends.