I could tell from the tone of her text (is that a thing?) – this was real. This was important and something was horribly wrong. “Can I call?” one of my mom friends texted. “Yep.” I texted back. She called. I was greeted by her usually cheerful and giggly voice, but today her beautiful voice wept. My heart immediately ripped…right down the middle.
Once you’re a mother, it gets harder to make friends, doesn’t it? I mean, you make “mom friends” – the mothers of your child’s classmates and friends and you hope that you can tolerate them long enough to just make it through school functions and birthday parties. These are like the friends I used to call “work friends.” They may not always be the friends you chose, but they’re the ones you’ve got. Love the one you’re with and all that.
Are Mom Friends The Same As Friends Who Are Moms?
But it’s not the same. What about real friends? That are moms. Are they mom friends? Or friends who are moms? Ok. Now I’m confused!
Play dates feel like first dates. Soccer games feel like a session of speed dating..and meeting a mom friend you click with feels desperately like you should ask her over to dinner now or loose your chance for a reliable mani/pedi buddy forever.
Today, you can turn to the “bar scene” of meeting friends for moms – the internet. Friends in facebook groups and other online friends feel real, connected, genuine – maybe even closer than some of your “IRL (in real life)” mom friends.
I always assumed they were mostly virtual – at the very least “other” or “less than” “real” friends. But making a friend online, can change your life. A friend online is just as capable, maybe more so, of providing emotional support when you need it.
You Don’t Have to Meet Mom Friends In Real Life
One friend in particular is a mom friend that I’ve been lucky enough to meet only a couple of times in real life – but a friend that I deeply cherish. This woman is one of those rare, truly generous people – more so than most people you ever meet in real life. She has a goodness and a kindness that just radiates from inside. Her laugh is contagious and people love being around her. She’s had her struggles and uses them to power her forward and to help other people. She’s one of the most genuine, kind, and giving people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. I feel lucky to call her my friend.
But I didn’t fully appreciate the depth of our friendship. And that was about to change. If I continue with my dating metaphor, this would be the moment we committed to not see other people. (So the metaphor breaks down here just a little…sorry.)
At least I didn’t fully appreciate the mutual depth of our friendship until today. Today, she texted me. She confided in me – she confided her deep, real, and utterly raw personal pain. She picked me to text.
When her weeping voice greeted me on the phone, I was immediately lost and thrown off balance. I’m not used to seeing this side of her. Frustrated, I’ve seen. Stumped or perplexed? Yes. We message or talk on the phone. I’m a fix it kinda’ gal- the Olivia Pope of friends, if you will. I like to offer suggestions; to fix things that are broken or breaking.
But this time, I couldn’t fix anything. I wasn’t there with her. I don’t personally know the characters in this act of her life’s play. I didn’t know how or what to advise. I couldn’t hug her. Her problems were real and raw – and not virtual at all. And I suddenly realized she needed more than a “virtual friend.” No, wait – she considered me more than a virtual friend. Or she wouldn’t have called.
I Did All I Could Do
I did all I could. I listened. She needed to let things out; to be heard. I listened. She let things out. I heard. I hopefully propped her up briefly. As she does with most things in her life, she’s climbing her way through this difficulty with grace and dignity, equating the needs of others with her own, although I’m sure there’s not anything easy about it.
I feel that somehow our “mom friendship” has been validated; we’ve passed some sort of milestone or test. I apologize that my metaphor is wearing thin – but engagement? Friends who are more likely to be friends for a long time?
*And in other news: if you aren’t finding friends online, there’s even a checklist to see if it’s your fault …I am rolling my eyes so hard right now!
Lesson learned: don’t ever doubt that friends you meet online are real mom friends and don’t doubt that they consider you a real mom friend. Whether you ever meet in person on not doesn’t matter. It’s always wonderful if you can…but it won’t change the real-ness of the friendship.
I’m glad she texted and threw me off balance. I’m glad I could be there. Even if I wasn’t there.