Posted by Slackermama.
I've hinted at this topic before on my blog, but I've always known that I would have to give the topic a good "airing" out. Mostly because whenever I think of it, a nasty taste fills my mouth and I start to feel my "Grinch-ometer" start to skyrocket. And ya'll, that's not good. I don't want to have such negative thoughts. And now with the New Year upon us (or after us since I've put this off so long), I'd really like to put this behind me once and for all. Of course, the best way for me to exorcise these demons is to blog about it. I've always been the sort that achieves the best therapy through writing and this is no different. The only reason I haven't blogged about this before now is because I didn't want to hurt feelings. The reason I have my blog in the first place is to talk about things in my life that are important to me and this is important to me. I can't really worry all the time about if feelings will be hurt, because it only results in my own feelings being hurt. Which would be tolerable, except that after my feelings are hurt then my family members' feelings are hurt. And that, well, let's just say that it's a deal-breaker for me.
I tried to speak about some of these issues before, back in August. But feelings were hurt and in the interest of keeping peace, I removed the posts from public viewing. Apologies were made profusely, by me, and I hoped that the bygones would soon be bygones. But, you know, I don't think they are. I don't think the bygones have EVER been bygones. People SAID the bygones were bygones, but I happen to think that actions speak louder than words in most cases and the actions have told me that I am VERY much still in the doghouse.
Let me backup. Some of you are probably scratching your heads going, "Wha?" This involves my friends. These are friends I've made recently and my son goes to school with one of the women's kids and is friends with him as well. It's a "group friend" sort of thing and as of last spring, was one of the best things in my life. See, Kile and I have lived in Reno for a long time but we've never had really close friends. No one we've ever felt we could really count on. No BFF's forever or anything like that. We've had plenty of friendly acquaintances, but no one who will stick through us in thick and thin. We've always wanted friends, but it's harder to meet people when you're an adult. When I met these women, I felt like this was a great opportunity to finally have some close friends that I could hang out with, laugh with and rely on. And for quite a while, that's exactly how it was. It was GREAT. Our husbands even enjoyed hanging out together, which thrilled me to no end. The kids liked each other, the husbands liked each other and we liked each other. Couldn't get much better. I was really happy to finally have friends and they seemed to genuinely care about me and my family.
I'm not sure exactly what changed. Or when it changed. It may have started around June. Not for me, as I was still in "Blissful Ignorance Land, a place I often find myself in situations like this. But things did change that month and I definitely can't hold that against my one friend. She had just had a baby and that was a huge shift in her life. The boys were out of school for the month so I didn't see a whole lot of either of my friends that month. But then, there was VBS. I'm sure you remember me talking about VBS. I didn't really want to help out with it, because working with kids makes me nervous. It's definitely NOT my calling. But I fouled up and I didn't tell my other friend that I didn't want to do this. Which is definitely what I should have done. I fully admit that was my bad. I handled it all really badly and flaked out terribly on my friends, leaving them to deal with a lot more than they would normally have had to. I worried that my one friend was really upset with me. She assured me afterward that she wasn't, and I apologized anyhow. I thought the issue was over but I wonder now, here on the other side of things, I don't think it was. I think my friend was upset and was trying to let it go but never did let it go. I hope that makes sense to you all.
July was pretty good, as I do believe my friends were trying to let the whole VBS thing go. The boys started school that month, we went to many awesome drive-in movies and we had Liam's birthday party at my friends house and had a great time too. As far as I was concerned, VBS was ancient history. After all, there wasn't anything for me to be upset with anyone about as it had been pretty much all my fault. And no one else seemed too mad at me so I let it go. I went to BlogHer and while I was gone, my one friend watched Liam during the day for Kile so he could go to work. That was such a lifesaver.
I came back from BlogHer and it was nearly August by then. Harry's friend had had a birthday party a day or so before and reportedly there was a lot of leftover pizza. A casual invitation was made for us all to come back that next day and have pizza. After Kile picked me up, he called them to check on what time we'd be getting together only to find out they had made other plans instead. Fine, whatever, I was beat anyhow and just took a nap instead. But I could tell Kile was disappointed. Again, it was something I didn't really focus on until future situations caused me to reflect on it. Not a big deal by itself, but when combined with everything else, it forms a pattern. At school that Monday, I was probably a bit quieter than normal. I was still tired from my trip, reeling from the events in Chicago (so much fun!) and just feeling vaguely off. I remember wondering if I was coming down with a cold or something. My friends asked if I was okay and I told them I was because as far as I knew, I was. This general mood continued for the next week or two and I stopped wondering about a cold and started wondering about depression or something. My moods were definitely down and lot more unpredictable than they normally are. I wondered if it was a really bad case of PMS, because it was reminiscent of something like that. But I'd never had really bad PMS before and couldn't think of why I'd have it now.
My one friend's son had a birthday party one weekend in mid-August and I was really looking forward to the opportunity to hang out with my friends and have a good time. But when we got there, I could tell I was still feeling rather moody. And I did try to keep my mood to myself as best I could. After all, this was a child's birthday part and a moody grump like me had no place in an event like that. I was also feeling rather tired, another recent occurrence and by the end of the evening, I just wanted to go home and put my feet up. I also wanted to leave before my moods got the better of me and I did something really awful and hurt someone's feelings. Kile took me home and then returned to the party to play Wii and hang out and I felt myself calming down as I relaxed. I wondered if I should have gone to the party at all, the state I was in. My one friend called to check on me, worried about my exit and wanting to make sure everything was okay. I assured her that I was okay, just didn't feel in the mood for socializing at the moment. No worries. And I figured that was that, but apparently, it wasn't. The next day was another birthday party, my other friend's littlest son and we went to that as well. I was feeling a lot better and actually had a great time at that party. I thought my one friend might have been a little quiet with us, not as friendly as she might have been otherwise. But I had no way of knowing if that was because of something I had done at the party the night before (Kile seemed to think not) or if because of something else that had nothing to do with us. I chose to believe the latter.
That evening, Harry talked to us about his friends sometimes calling him names or being mean to him. We had a frank discussion about what he should do in those situations, trying to bolster his confidence in himself and assuring him that he should come to us if he found himself feeling uncomfortable. We wanted to be sure to deal with any possible situations right away, before they blew up into giant problems that would cause a lot more damage if gone unchecked. I thought would be the best thing to do in order to preserve friendships. I just didn't know that my new resolve would be called into service quite so soon.
The next morning, when I went to my one friend's house to walk the kids to school, I found she was again being a little stand-offish. So I did start to wonder if indeed it WAS me. All this was running through my head on the walk down when Harry came to me, crying. One of the boys had called him what Harry considered a bad word. Now, you have to understand that Harry is pretty puritanical yet about such things and what he thought was a bad word was actually pretty mild. (It was "butthead", by the way) The way he was acting, you would have thought one of them had just shot his dog. But what I thought was important was how he felt. He felt very hurt and being my boy (and my baby, besides being almost 8 years old), I wanted to help him anyway I could. He told me he would like it if I would pick him up in the van after school and then drive him down to school the next day. I never had the impression he wanted this to be a permanent change, but that he felt he needed the time away from the "walking down to school" routine. Since I was already thinking that perhaps my one friend was upset with me, I thought it was probably a good idea. It would help things calm down, perhaps. Then, in a couple days, it could all go back to normal. Problem solved, right? I told my one friend when we got to school my plan to pick up Harry and drive him to school the next day. She seemed maybe a little surprised, but otherwise showed no concern. She didn't ask why or seem upset by it so I figured she took it at face value. See my problem here? I don't play "politics" very well, I don't read between the lines well and I don't have good people-reading skills. It's just an empirical fact. I tend to wear myself on my sleeve and I wrongly assume others do too.
When I got home, I was still feeling moody (yes, STILL... you think I would have caught on by now) and starting to take it out on the month itself (nope, NEVER done that before). And, as I've said before, I like to use this blog in order to air my feelings so that they don't fester and to work through my feelings. So I wrote a post about what happened on the walk to school, among other things and expressed my interest in August being over as soon as possible. That was pretty much it. After I wrote it, I felt a lot better (which was the point in the first place) and put the matter out of my mind. That is, until a couple hours later when I found a comment from my other friend. And she was MAD. She said that I had called her son a bully (Hu-wha??), that I had been rude at the birthday parties over the weekend (Okay, maybe the first one but the second one??) and how I had abused their friendship so horribly. I honestly felt like a knife had been shoved into my heart. Was this a joke? The level of venom in that comment was mind-blowing. I cried. I read it again a while later and cried again. I didn't know what to think or what to do. What had I done?? Had I done anything? I couldn't think of anything and I couldn't understand why she was SO mad at me. That night I got an email from my one friend's husband where he basically read me the riot act. I felt like a kid in school, getting her hand slapped by the principle. I felt shamed and I still wasn't sure what exactly I had done wrong.
I talked this all over with my husband at great length. I told him how I wished that my other friend had emailed me her concerns rather than commenting. If she had emailed me, I could have addressed her concerns and if necessary, removed the post on the spot. As it was, other people had seen the post and her comment and had replied in my defense. God bless them for it too because while these commenters may not have gotten it all straight, I was just SO happy to have someone on my side for a change. I did take the post down that night, as I promised my one friend's husband I would. What else could I do to make things right? I wasn't just concerned for my own friendships, but for my son's friendships as well. My other friend wouldn't reply to me, and my one friend's husband (just him, she didn't email me at all) kept insisting that I had hurt her feelings so badly that she was just devastated. And indeed, I felt very bad for hurting her but what about MY feelings? I felt absolutely CRUSHED through this. I was crying all the time, on top of this nagging moodiness and just felt wretched. No one, save my own husband, seemed to care about that. Seeing as how as I was being viewed as the "perpetrator", I guess I can understand why.
Kile was sympathetic to my plight, but aggravated by my constant moodiness and interested in finding out once and for all WHY I was this way. He got a pregnancy test on the way home from work and promised me when he delivered it into my hands that if I wasn't pregnant, he was taking me into the doctor for a hormone test. Because something was the matter. This wasn't normal for me. Still, I was STUNNED when the pregnancy test came up positive. And I felt like it answered EVERYTHING. Kile did too, and interested in finally clearing the air with my friends, he emailed them the news that I was pregnant. Surely this would give them a reason for any fishy behavior they may feel I'd been exhibiting, right? And good friends cut each other slack on such things, right? Especially if they just found out they are pregnant.
Only? Not so much. No, they were still pissed at me. And again (for what, the 10th time that week?), I was crushed. This was a miraculous event for me. Anyone who knew me at all knew that getting pregnant this way was nothing short of an act of God and something I would have loved to share with my dear friends. I wanted to be excited and I wanted others to be excited with me. What I got was more angry emails and more cold shoulders. I felt abandoned. I felt that maybe this friendship had been all in my head. That I had imagined the closeness. My heart was, quite literally, broken.
The olive branch was finally extended later that week. And even then, even when I tried to explain my situation as best I could and how I never meant to hurt any feelings, I was told that there were still hurt feelings and that it would take some time before trust would be regained. I figured it was better than nothing and against my better instincts, decided to just turn the other cheek and let it go. It was more important to me to try to preserve the friendship at that point. I've never been one to be interested in holding grudges anyhow.
We never did have it quite as good as we did back in the spring, but it was better. I felt I could relax again at last. My one friend didn't have me over very much anymore, but she had her hands full with the day care she was starting up so that didn't bother me too much. Things were going okay, which was more than I could have asked for back in August. October was another month off for the boys. We had talked before they went on break about having a Halloween party for the kids at my one friend's house at the end of the month. We had done one the year before and the kids had enjoyed it so much. We also made tentative plans to have a couple play dates during the month to keep the boys sane. Well, the play dates didn't happen, but that wasn't too surprising. After all, life goes on. Harry went out of town for a time, and then my one friend's family went out of town for a while and that's how it goes. My other friend called towards the end of the month to touch base and she mentioned the Halloween party. She said that she figured the party would be happening on the Tuesday before Halloween but wasn't sure of any other details. Before we hung up, she assured me that one of them would call me either that weekend or Monday and let me know the final details. Great! It was a plan. Harry had been pestering me about it and I could finally tell him that YES, the party was going on on Tuesday.
I saw my one friend with her family at a local restaurant on Saturday night. I didn't think to ask about the Halloween party or I would have. We just made a little small talk before heading to our own table. I realized later that they were probably eating out for my friend's birthday which was in a day or so and I probably should have wished her a happy birthday. But... I kinda suck that way. I don't think on my feet too well and I missed an opportunity. I figured I would give her my birthday wishes at the Halloween party in a couple days. The weekend ended, however, with no phone call with party details. And then there was no call on Monday. Strange, I thought. But maybe they got busy and forgot. Surely I would hear something come Tuesday morning, right? Especially once they saw I didn't show up and realized that no one had told me when to show up. Right?
Yeah, not so much. I had to tell Harry that I didn't think the party was happening. The only thing I could think was that someone's kid was sick and the party had to be canceled. I thought it was strange that no one called me to tell me, but then I didn't get a call with details either. And I do realize that I could have called and asked what was up. But a) I am not good with making phone calls, avoid it like the plague and my friends know that and b) I didn't text either because I didn't want to "pester". It wasn't my party to hold and if there was something to tell me, I figured the hostess would let me know one way or another. Harry was DEVASTATED, of course, as only an 8 year old can be. I felt pretty bad but didn't know what else I could do. I think he held out hope that maybe the party was just postponed and would be held later on in the week. I told Kile later in the day about the lack of party and he too thought it was odd. Only, he doesn't have my hangups so he texted my one friend and asked her about it. And she texted him back that there HAD been a party that day. But that since I didn't show up, they assumed I wasn't feeling well. End of story.
When I heard this I felt a wide variety of emotions. I felt anger (no, make that FURY), disappointment, sadness, guilt, and hurt. Oh, the hurt. See, I had to tell Harry that there HAD been a party and we had missed it. And I had to watch him cry because he missed out on something he had been looking so forward to. And yes, I did wonder if I should have checked sooner. But that led to the anger and hurt. Why hadn't they called me?? My other friend had said that one of them would. And when they saw I didn't show up, why didn't they call me then? If they thought I wasn't feeling well, well, wasn't that worth a call to see what was up? Wasn't I worth at least that much from them?
The answer came to me plain as day and twice as ugly: Apparently, I wasn't. After all, friends who cared about me would have certainly called me at one point or another. They would have noticed and cared that I wasn't there. And they didn't. They didn't care about me and this apathy had led to my child's feelings being hurt. I didn't know what else to think. And I honestly think that's when I gave up. Kile pleaded with me to keep relations nice. Harry's birthday was coming up in a week and he was worried that any friction might interfere with the birthday plans. Kile also wanted to spend Thanksgiving with our friends who had earlier invited us to their house that day. We got an invitation from some of our family members who live down in Sacramento for Thanksgiving and we normally would have gone. They had a new house that we were interested in seeing and my parents would be there and it would be fun to see everyone. BUT, we had made these plans and Kile really wanted to follow through with them. I was a bit nervous about relations, considering the Halloween Snub, but ultimately agreed. I "let it go" yet again (though felt considerably more wary), and relations seemed to be okay. No one even mentioned the Halloween party, which I didn't even know what to think of that. But, whatever. Like I said, I think I was through caring.
And Thanksgiving went really well. We had a great time over at their house and they were the perfect hosts. The kids had fun, the adults had fun and I really felt like it was a little taste of what things used to be like. We had tentative plans to do dinner for Christmas too, since both of us don't have any family in town and were planning to stay in town for the holidays. And Kile had been talking for MONTHS about having them over for New Years Eve. See, Kile's idea of the perfect New Years Eve is to have friends over for a very fancy dinner, followed by games or movies until "the ball drops". He's wanted to do this for years, but we've never had really good friends we could do that with. This, he figured, was his chance to fix our friends a fantastic dinner, use the nice china and really do it up. He was already planning out the menu, even. Not my cup of tea, as I mentioned in my "Anti-social" post, but I was excited for him. And it would be nice to have New Years plans.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, Harry told us he wanted to take the bus to school instead of walking down. This is something we'd been talking about for a long time. Probably since he started school back in kindergarten. But with the new baby on the way, we'd been talking about it a lot more. It had pretty much been decided that he would start taking the bus when the baby came, because it would be way too much for me to lug the two kids down in the van twice a day when the bus basically drops him off and picks him up at the bottom of the street. Then, my mom would get after me on the phone whenever we would talk about it. She would urge me to get him on the bus this winter, so that I wouldn't have to worry about the snow and ice on the way down to school. Given my past history with ice, she was worried I would fall on the ice, wreck the van or SOMETHING. Even though I've done this in previous winters and previous pregnancies. But, whatever. Still, the deciding factor was Harry telling us that he wanted to take the bus. It was ultimately his decision. I want that to be clear as crystal. Neither Kile nor I in any way influenced this. Neither of us influenced either him wanting to walk down by himself just a week later (sob!). I let my friend know that he was taking the bus. This bus thing started up amid some pretty nasty weather and with her day care business, my friend wasn't able to walk down as much anyway and was having her son get rides to school fairly often. There was a time or two that she forgot to tell me that her son had a ride and it caused some confusion. This way, it would be one less thing for her to worry about. I wouldn't have to drive down in the mornings either, so it was a win-win situation.
At least I hope so. There has been a play date since then where us friends got together on a half day and the kids played and we had lunch and had a great time. No one seemed upset with me about the whole bus thing so I counted that as a bonus. However, there haven't been any play dates since, but it is the holidays and people do get busy. So I don't read too much into it.
Now, my one friend did let me know at this play date that her husband had decided they would go down to his mom's house on Christmas day and stay there for about a week. She told me this after I asked she would like us to bring over for Christmas dinner. Okay. So I guess that meant we were on our own. No biggie though, we've been on our own before. We would just buy our own dinner fixings and do it up ourselves (which we did and it was marvelous, btw). But later on, after I'd gone home, I thought about New Years Eve. It sounded as though they planned on being gone through New Years, though I hadn't gotten any confirmation on that. Still, I knew that New Years Eve was not going to happen. Kile was upset upon hearing this, but I think he held out hope. At least, he did until recently when he finally emailed my one friend's husband to ask about New Years Eve and was told that, yes, they would be out of town.
I figured as much, but Kile was pretty disappointed. And I felt disappointed for him, because I know he was looking forward to it. And I think he felt abandoned. Like his New Years plans were good enough until something better came along. So I suggested that instead of staying at home and doing our own New Years thing like we always end up doing, that we go to Elko that weekend and visit his family. So that's what we're doing. We're going on Sunday (that's the plan right now at least, we'll see what the weather does) and will come back on the 2nd. No use in sitting around here feeling sorry for ourselves. We're going to go out and have plans, darnit. One way or another.
So yeah. Feelings have been hurt. Theirs and ours. And I hope this (extremely long-winded) post gives you a look at something that has been bothering me lately. This is everything as I remember it, as I felt it and from my perspective. I don't know if any of these involved parties will even see this post. I don't really mind if they do or if they don't. I didn't write it for them, I wrote it for me. I needed to get this off my chest. Kile worries that if they do see this, that it will impact Harry's friendships. I'd like to think we're all adult enough for that not to happen. And I hope that they can understand my need to talk about my issues on my blog. They haven't understood it in the past, unfortunately, but I can't really say that that's my problem. No disrespect meant at all. I just need to be able to feel like I can speak my mind here, in this cozy forum of HBM. And maybe now some of you understand why I feel hesitant about friendships. Once bitten, twice shy and all of that.