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Brittany: Meeting Kelly and Other Old Friends

One of the best things about Creative Construction is that it’s begun to feel like a family. I feel like I have friends all over the world. As it happened, Kelly’s house was the halfway point between home and our cruise that left from Miami, so we decided to get together while we were in the neighborhood.

We had a wonderful time. I can’t say enough nice things about our evening. Kelly and her husband prepared us a delicious meal, and Sam fell completely and instantly in love with Kelly’s girls (who are, indeed, magical). Within minutes he was running circles with them in their backyard like they were old friends. I felt the same way about Kelly. We weren’t making small talk in her kitchen–we talked like we’d known each other for years, even though we’d never actually met in person.

That is the beauty of a community like this one, where we are all on a similar journey.

Meeting Kelly was an odd juxtaposition after spending the week with my best friend, Nicole, who I hadn’t seen since 1994. She is Australian, and lived with us as an exchange student during the 1992-1993 school year when we were both sophomores in high school. We had an immediate connection, were the kind of soul-matish friends that only happen once in any lifetime, and after a year together had to return to lives on two continents worlds apart. When I was a senior in high school, she came back to the US for a visit, and that was the last time I saw her. Until the internet became widespread, we fell hopelessly out of touch. We missed each others’ college years, weddings, pregnancies, and only reunited in cyberspace after our children were born. It was as if no time at all had passed, though, and now we e-mail almost daily.

When I found out that she and her family were planning to spend two months in the US, I couldn’t wait to see her again, in real time. We reunited on a week-long cruise this past week, and might have fallen into an easy rhythm again (our husbands even got along well), had it not been for the fact that after 13 years, we now traveled with husbands, children, and parents. It was disappointing to see each other so little, and also sad to see the ways motherhood and wifehood could impact a strong female friendship. We were both running hither and yon, managing our families, trying to get from point A to point B in the sanest way possible. I was so exhausted from looking after my family’s collective needs that the week flew by with only a dull twinge of regret that she and I hadn’t yet been able to reconnect in any meaningful way. She and her family will be here at our house from the 10th through the 25th, but I am readjusting my expectations about her visit and the actual time we’ll get to spend together. This year has been the one where motherhood has forced me to readjust all my expectations, and I’m only now beginning to grieve over what I didn’t realize I’d already lost.

Then, I returned home and checked my e-mail. I had a message from Micaela, who I haven’t seen since 1996. She and I were exchange students together in Hungary, and had many adventures together as we tried to navigate life in that crazy country. I’ve missed her and tried to track her down many times. Michaela is the only other person that witnessed that pivotal year of my  life. Whenever I feel nostalgic for Hungary, it’s her I want to talk to. Several years ago, I went so far as to email her mother’s work address, asking her to help us get in touch, but got no response. I had no idea where she was or what she was doing, but hen, a few weeks ago, I found Micaela on Facebook and sent her a message. Finally, she responded.

She wrote a bit about our shared experiences and then added, Congratulations on having KIDS! I hear that changes everything…

I read that and felt a little like throwing up. After the week I’d just had, it seemed so painfully true. Everything has changed. Everything continues to change. And as motherhood molds and shapes me, I continue to change, as well. I hope my friendships will weather the changes, too.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. SO COOL, Brittany! I am so happy that you and Kelly met each other — and so jealous!! Wow…..

    May 7, 2009
  2. cathy #

    fantastic post, brittany! so happy to hear you and kelly spent a great time together. i am looking forward to travelling and meeting many of the woman here, as i feel we have been very honest with each other about what challenges we face and share in mothering and in creativity. that is true friendship, leave off the small talk, let’s get to the real deal. the sense of fast friends applies here for me, certainly.

    as for motherhood changing everything, and connecting with your old dear friend, maybe as she visits, the 2 of you can sit down with a cup of tea or a margarita, as the case may be, once the chillins’ are put to bed and the hubbies are in front of a game on the boob tube. i’m sure you’ll be able to share your feelings on the matter with her, as you’re both going through it, esp w/o the travel challenge of cramming everyting in for everyone.

    May 7, 2009
  3. brittany, i’m so glad you guys were able to stop through! i, too, felt like i had known you for years. no small talk needed!

    it is true how marriage and family can change your friendships you had pre-husband and pre-baby. even though two of my closest friends from high school are also married with kids, they married and had kids far sooner than i. i was away at college; they didn’t go to college and stayed home and had babies. not knocking that, mind you, but it does give you two very different perspectives on life. i still have two very close friends from high school that i talk with regularly, one of whom i also went to college with, but i find that my closet friends now are those college friends. those are the women that i really grew up with…that true growing up that happens when you are away from mom and dad, living on your own for the first time. it’s hard for me to meet new friends outside of work these days, so you guys have been a blessing. i’ve tried to strike up conversations with some of the moms of my girls’ friends, but since i had the girls at 37 and most of these moms aren’t even 30 yet, there’s a fairly large disconnect. my college friends also had their kids later in life so we’re able to share that together.

    May 7, 2009
  4. Kristine #

    It is SO wonderful that you and Kelly were able to hook up. How fun!

    I feel the same way about this community. Even though I only joined a while ago, I feel like I’ve known you all forever. We all blend so well here. Just imagine if we all were able to get together at one time! What a party that would be, huh?

    I know what you mean about friendships, too. Everything does truly change with motherhood, especially friendships. Ever since my baby was born, I’ve seen a shift in how I relate to my old friends. Some friendships have sustained the changes and have gotten stronger while others, unfortunately, have not. It’s the cycle of life, I suppose.

    Welcome back from your cruise. It’s good to have you back.

    May 7, 2009
  5. cathy #

    ok, again, i offer my place as most centrally located among the eastcoasters…maybe not so much for those of you out west, but you’re all welcome anyway. and that many women having a blast would definitely freak out my 14yo!


    i have the margarita mix and triple sec…

    May 8, 2009
  6. The question is do you have a sturdy table and a couple of lampshades? LOL

    May 8, 2009
  7. cathy #

    as a matter of fact…and enough lampshades to go around!

    May 8, 2009
  8. Jen #

    Coming late to the party (typical) but wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post, Brittany. I sympathize about those changing friendships and am jealous for your excellent time with Kelly. What’s also interesting in my case is how motherhood has opened up the door to so many new female friendships. I never had many women friends until I became a mother, but the isolation of being a SAHM pushed me into a social mode out of sheer desperation — I joined a mother’s group.

    The mom’s group been an incredible resource and has connected me to many fabulous women. And of course there is this community as well! I wonder if part of it has to do with when one forms those female friendships. Sometimes the change of motherhood is too much for the early relationships, but if the friendships forms after becoming a mom (or happens in part because of the shared experience of motherhood) then the friendship can be all the stronger. Or at least that has been my experience so far.

    May 11, 2009

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