So, tonight my crew (minus Lori who is basking in the sunshine... if there is any... in Florida) and I are going to dinner with an old friend. Its a bit of a sticky wicket (as the geezer on Dancing with the Stars would say) so I thought I would throw it out to the masses and ask their opinions.
My friend, we'll call her Ardnas (names are changed to protect the innocent), used to be one of my best friends. I met her when I moved to Indiana, but our friendship didn't prosper right away. She was a little older than me in years, and a lot older than me in maturity, and we didn't click right away. We were civil, but not close. Homa was our mutual friend though, so we bonded eventually and eventually-er she was even in my wedding. We threw her bridal shower, her bachelorette party, her baby shower, and were anxiously waiting at the hospital when her baby boy was born. He's about six months older than mine. Then, we drifted... and by drifted I mean that she eventually stopped talking to me altogether. Silence. Cut off. Shut down.
Make no mistake, that was a rough period for both of us. We both were having our first kids, and nothing, and I mean nothing, throws life out of whack more than your first crack at parenthood. Plus, as I mentioned above... we are pretty different. I never really knew the reasons why she decided that our friendship was over. There was no discussion... just radio silence. But, it seemed that we just went two different directions (which is interesting, because she was the friend that my path in life was closest to... married a few months later, kids a few months younger, but essentially, the same path). But, we drifted. I know that she made the "cut off" decision because she felt it was best for her, and I honestly harbor no ill will about it. I missed my friend, but I was never angry.
Two years later, we semi-reconnected. Her husband's mom died, a lady that I met on many occasions, and I sent a sympathy card. She emailed back a "thank you" for the card, and I wrote her back. I wasn't going to put myself out there to be cut off again, and it took about a month to do so, but I did. Then, our group (a foursome that used to meet out on a regular basis) met out for dinner. It was awkward and no one was as open as we used to be... but it seemed like a start. A few weeks later, she and her family came to my house for dinner, and it was awkwarder. Our parenting styles were too different. I felt judged by what I let my kids do, and I felt fake fearing that any comment would come across as me judging her. I hate feeling fake. Then... radio silence again. Nothing. For six months. But to be fair... the silent treatment was on both sides. I didn't call her either.
Suddenly, Ardnas sends an email to the fab four asking for a dinner tonight. At the time, I was uneasy. What do we have to talk about? Why catch up with someone who misses huge chunks of my life? But, Homa said that if we just view Ardnas as an acquaintance now, why wouldn't we go? Which is true. I truly wish her no ill will, and could easily chat if I saw her out or at a mutual friend's house. So, we agreed to go. But, to make a short story as long as humanly possible... now I am not too sure. I am nervous that the feelings that made her bail in the first place will come back. We seem like a much better idea in theory than in practice. And, I am afraid that my fear of saying something that will cross the line will keep me from saying anything real. And, what is the point of being with me if I can't be real.
I am so nervous about dinner. I don't know what to wear. I don't know what to talk about. I feel like its a first date, but I already know the relationship isn't going to work out. We walk on eggshells trying not to offend each other, and that isn't real communication. When she asks what's new, what am I going to say? In the last six months... a lot. I don't want to get into Jack's medical stuff, because she won't be there to comfort me if his EEG on Thursday turns something up. And, I don't want to talk about stresses raising Tabbi, because I don't want to be judged as lacking as a parent (I reserve that for my readers). I feel like I am going to recite the "Christmas letter" version of my life... which is a brief summary of events and milestones in the best light possible to display my perfect life. YEAH RIGHT! I don't do Christmas letters and I don't have a perfect life. So, does it make sense to spend two hours tonight pretending like I do? Time out, sans children, is a rare commodity in my life. Is Fakety Fakerton the person I want to be when I get that time? And, I don't even mean that just for me. Is it worth it to her? If I am fake and don't want to risk offending her, is it worth her time, as well? Are past memories enough to keep the spark alive, or is it time to let the fire die?