An old friend has recently resurfaced in our lives after several years. He was Mister's roommate in college, and a very close friend to both of us. He was kind of like my 4th brother. After college, he ended up moving to Boston, so we remained close and all saw each other often.
In 2007, he called me to say that his wife was pregnant and they were moving cross-country to be closer to his wife's family. We all got together one final time in Boston before they moved, and that was the last time we saw them. Not really because of anything but that they lived really far away, they lived in a small house and didn't have a guest room, and shortly thereafter they had a new baby so it would become hard for them to travel often.
Shortly after his baby was born, I started to really think about and deal with my grief about infertility. I think after our diagnosis, I sort of slid through, thinking, "When we're ready, we'll adopt" like it would be that simple. Also shortly after his baby was born, he fell in love with his sweet daughter. He would, with his heart in a good place, wanting us to share in his love, e-mail us frequently and say, "When are you guys having kids?! You've been married a long time. Come on!!" and other things like that. I ignored the e-mails and continued with my new job that I loved, and kept thinking, "when we're ready, we'll adopt."
He sent me one too many of those e-mails once, and I opened up to him, sharing the story of our infertility, sharing my grief and sadness that our life hadn't turned out as we planned. I told him that we were hoping to adopt someday, but that we weren't ready yet. Until then, I didn't want him to ask me about it anymore. I told him that if he wants to talk to Mister about it, that's fine, but I didn't want to talk about my hope for the future when it was so nebulous and so very connected to my sadness about the present.
Because he is a kind and sensitive person, he said the right things, that he was sorry that we're sad, he's sorry about our infertility, he never meant to make us feel bad and that he too was hopeful for our future.
We really didn't talk much after that e-mail exchange, and I felt guilty, like it was my fault. I threw this awkwardness out there, and neither one of us really knew how to deal with it. So neither one of us really did deal with it and it just kind of sat there. Meanwhile, we're thousands of miles apart, busy with our own lives. It might have been different had we been nearby, because we probably still would have continued to see each other frequently. When you only talk on e-mail, it's hard to talk about anything but the most major things in your life. His was a new baby, mine was lack of a baby. So we kind of drifted apart.
Recently, he and his wife announced that they're expecting their second child later this year. Obviously, we love them, so we're thrilled for them. On the other hand, they have a 3 year old we've never met... :(
The part that's really funny to me is that within the last few months, he must have somehow been missing us a lot. He reconnected with Mister and they played fantasy sports together and have completely resurrected their friendship. The added benefit for me is that he has reached out to me as well, e-mailing frequently and actually stating his desire to be friends again, to write more often, and to talk on the phone. He offered to play fantasy sports with me, but I don't play, so I challenged him to online Scrabble instead!
So this friend who had been almost completely absent from our lives for the last 3 years is back. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason other than that he missed us and that our friendship was important enough to him that he regretted drifting apart. And honestly, I missed him too, so I'm grateful that he was willing to reach out, to make this effort. I appreciate that my friend had the wisdom to feel like our history as friends was more important than the awkwardness that pushed us apart. The thing that was holding me back was really the awkwardness. How, after saying, "don't ask me about when I'm going to have a baby" do you go back to talking about baseball scores and the weather and other people you know? Especially when all the other people you know are also having babies at the same time? The awkwardness only got bigger and bigger the longer it sat. Yet when he reached out, I realized I actually didn't feel awkward at all anymore. So I'm even more grateful for his renewed effort in our friendship than I thought at first.
Interpersonal relationships are funny. That's for sure.