Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conveniently forgetting

I have a tendency to conveniently forget those things that make me uncomfortable or sad, if possible. I guess I'm more of a conflict-avoider than I knew... Funny how life helps you learn more things about yourself, even when you think you know it all.

Anyway, I wrote about how my college roommate flaked on me and went out of town when I was *in* her town, with a primary purpose of seeing her and another friend. She (the college roommate, not the other friend) had baby #2 in late August, and I was so looking forward to seeing her for the first time in over a year, meeting baby #2, and seeing how kiddo #1 (because he really is not a baby) had grown. I set up my visit as far in advance as possible - knowing that I might not have another visit to their area for a while. I looked back (because I am that way) and found that I had emailed her the information for my visit in July. As in, dates. And she was still pregnant. And she told me she put it on the calendar.

Fast forward a few months to a week or so before my planned visit, when I emailed her and my other friends to finalize plans. And she emailed back that she hoped I meant that I was coming that weekend, not the *next*, as they had made plans to go see her grandmother in two weeks, since she hadn't yet met the baby. I was floored. No, I wrote back, I was traveling in two weeks, not one, and I wasn't able to change my plans since, you know, I'd made plane reservations three *months* before. Could they possibly leave a little later on their planned departure day (my planed arrival day) so I could see them for a few hours?

Oh, she wrote back. Well, they couldn't change their plans. Too bad.

I didn't even write back. I couldn't find the words. I knew she was juggling two kids, and maternity leave from work, and whoknowswhatelse. But still. We've been as close as sisters for 16 years now, and she finks out on seeing me for the only time all *year*?

I went on the trip, and I saw other friends. I played with their kids, caught up with them, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But I was so sad, knowing that I was within an hour of my roommate's house for the first time in so long, and knowing that I wouldn't be seeing her.

And then I didn't call her for over two months. She never called me - balancing home and work and a new nanny and a household is likely enough to keep anyone busy. And I was still hurting.

I finally caved earlier this week. It's the Christmas season, I figured. I should call and set things right, even if I just called to talk about normal things. So I gathered up my courage and hit the right number on my phone. And got...not her voice mail. Definitely not her voice mail. Hip hop music and a message in Spanish? Definitely not.

This sent me into another spiral. Did she change her number and not tell me? Did something awful happen and no one tell me? It's amazing, I'll say, where the mind goes when it doesn't have enough information to draw a reasonable conclusion. I talk to my patient, loving husband, who suggests that I send her an email. Maybe I can get in touch with her that way.

I sent the email, and waited. Not long, as it turned out. Hi!, she wrote. We discontinued my personal cell phone since I have one for work, and I have too many devices as it is.

She called while I was on the phone with a prospective employer. I called her back and we talked about everyday things. My husband's new job. How big her baby is getting. How the nanny is working out. No mention of the fact that we hadn't talked for two months. No discussion of what had transpired during those two months. So I don't know what to think. I've decided that I have too many other things to think about right now, to devote any time to figuring out the nuances of this relationship. I'm glad to be talking to her again. I'm ignoring the fact that this relationship may have changed irreparably in the last few months. And yet, I think (don't we all?) that maybe *she* thinks that our child-free life is so different from hers, that my life trajectory has deviated so much from the traditional path, that maybe we cannot continue to be such good friends as we were.

One of the unexpected pieces of living a child-free life, not by choice, is how often the *issues* pop up in my everyday life. A day does not go by that I don't realize the impact of these choices on every aspect of my life. Someone makes a comment....I talk to a friend after a long silence....a phone message from another friend makes me think that her attempts to get pregnant with donor sperm (she is single, without a partner) have finally been successful....friends who had a baby in November post pictures of their adorable newborn on FB. It just....slaps me in the face nearly every day. And yet, on the surface, I am moving through my life - my husband and I, together. He has taken his new job. I am talking to people about jobs for next year, exploring all my options and not just those with good school districts. But underneath, I am the woman who can't have a child and who is not willing to risk her emotional and physical health to pursue all interventions necessary to correct that fact.

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