Thursday, April 10, 2014

Your Friend, the Flake (Revisited)

I don't know about you guys, but about 95% of the time I waste on Facebook is spent looking through my own photos. Maybe it's because I'm slightly narcissistic--I like my stuff the best. Or perhaps it's because I'm very sentimental--I love my little ones' snotty baby pictures, and I am only partially embarrassed by the lingering evidence of my college days and bachelorette party.

In addition, I am probably one of the last people I know to keep honest-to-goodness photo albums in my living room, which I look at on a semi-regular basis with my kids and visiting family members. (Further proof that I have not fully latched on to the digital technology of my day.)

So with that in mind, it should come as no real surprise that I reread my own blogs. Again, narcissism or decide.
As I was sorting through them, I happened upon this gem that I had written right before my husband deployed. Of course, reading it made me extra appreciative of the friends that have stuck with me through all of my flakiness. But I surprised myself when I realized that most of that post read with a heavy guilt that I just don't feel anymore. Do I feel sad when I don't get to spend time with my friends? Of course! Do I miss them? Like crazy! Do I feel guilty? Not even a little bit.

I am a wife and a mom first. Then I am a friend. It took me a while to finally see that. (I guess that's called growing up.)

Of course, none of the former statements mean that I don't need my friends. Oh, how I do need them.

Our last duty station was a horrible time for me. I was just not my fabulous self. (I don't reread those blogs because they still make me sad, so I won't make you do it either.) Making friends was both difficult and awkward. I was very fortunate to have had that year of quality time with my husband, but I was jealous that he was making friends in class and I was solely dependent on him to meet my need for adult companionship. Try though he did, he couldn't fill the void. After all, he is a dude and his capability of producing quality girl talk was extremely lacking (as was his capacity to tolerate it.)

I am determined to not relive that saga in our new home, and that is forcing me to step a bit outside of my flaky comfort zone. For one thing, I would rather be in a large crowd where people are slowly drawn to my subtle awesomeness, but that avenue has yet to present itself here. So I have to do things like go up to strangers and talk to people to make them like me. It would seem like a person who holds a communications degree would be good at that, but as it turns out, I am so very not...
However, my husband's work schedule is more demanding here--making it all the more important for me to "pimp my friendship out" the way that only military wives can.

For anyone who has no idea what that means, it looks a lot like this:

You have kids? I have kids!!!! Wanna have our kids play together?
You like to run? I like to run!!!! Wanna meet for a run?
You like coffee? I like coffee!!!! Wanna grab a cup of coffee?
You like wine? We will be best friends foreverrrr!!!!

Quite frankly, I feel a lot like this guy as I'm doing it:

They are frivolous starting points to be sure, but sometimes I get lucky and true bonds are formed. And these friendships stick because the other people in them realize at some point that they are friends with a flake.
Sometimes I will meet you out, but usually I would rather you meet me in. I'm lazy, I'm cheap, and I don't like to drive in the dark. My kids make me tired early, babysitters are expensive, and I live in a house that already has a bar in it. I will talk about my kids a lot. I will bring my kids with me most of the time, or you will have to meet me during their scheduled childcare hours. I don't call. I don't text. I hardly ever initiate any kind of meeting.
It actually takes a non-flake to make our friendship work...or a dude, because boys don't need constant interaction to validate their friendships. I realize that sounds extremely one-sided. I also realize that by those standards I should not have the amazing friends that I do, which makes my friendships that much sweeter to me.


Have you ever felt like you wasted an entire day before you even had lunch? That was me today. I spent three hours of paid childcare looking at my own pictures on Facebook and fussing over this blog, and at the end of it I realized that my blogs don't matter to me as much as my friendships. Thursday afternoons would be better spent over a play date, or a run, or coffee, or--when I FINALLY get to Europe--a glass of wine. I will probably always be a flake in some respects, and I'm sorry I'm not sorry for that. But I will be a flake who tries harder now, so you will forgive me.

So in case I have flaked on it lately and forgot to mention, I do love you, my dear friends. Get ready for me to bug you a little bit more often. Now please get on Facebook and post some new stuff for me to look at, because it is getting pretty boring ;)

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