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Sending love to friends
I don't really do Valentine's Day anymore. It's not that I don't appreciate it, just for me it's always been a day for new love and putting your heart out there. Seeing romance blossom and impressing someone new. Now I've got a family, I have plenty of anniversaries, special days and Birthdays to get me through the year so, instead I want to talk about friends.
I want to talk about friends instead of love for two reasons. The first is that I've actually found making good friends so much harder than dating. Yes, I'm completely serious. I really enjoyed my dating days, there was always an excuse to meet someone new, have a different conversation and get out the house. It was exciting and I was in no hurry to meet 'The One' so, with no pressure from myself to make an impression, I felt I could be completely myself. It didn't matter if my date didn't like it because as far as I was concerned, there would always be other dates and until the next one came along I had all of the social interaction I needed at work.
Fast forward a few years to a world where I'd love to make some more good mum friends to help keep the days as a stay at home mum more bearable and it couldn't be more different. Even before lockdown the chance to meet mums was few and far between. When you did get the chance to meet there was only ever a small window to make an impression before the other mum's friends turned up or one of the children demanded attention. Sometimes you'd just end up being the odd one out between groups of friends. Either way, the pressure was completely on, especially as I was going back home to spend the rest of the day just talking to my little one, and I'd always end up feeling awkward and self conscious because of it.
In fact the stakes are so high that even now with the ladies I've managed to at least do coffee with, I still struggle to be myself. With no find a friend sites, and only so many groups and classes I could attend when the world was open, keeping hold of anyone feels like pressure. I've certainly missed out a few times.
Anyway, let's move onto the second reason for talking about friends, which is that we rarely get to appreciate them. We go through life with the highs and lows and our close friends stick with us through it all. There might be times we talk less, see each other less (especially now), but if we pick up the phone they'll be there. Even with just the occasional Birthday drink squeezed in around family and a Christmas card, they choose to be there for us.
Of course in return they get our friendship back, any friend who has stuck by me I would always be there for without a question asked. But, even with that considered, I still find it amazing how much friends do for us without us ever really having a chance to tell them how great they are. They really are the people that keep us going and make life that bit more fun.
I have, however, learnt through my friendship history that friends do take effort to keep hold of. The relationship, although not romantic, still takes time and we can still have rough patches even without having to deal with chewed fingernails, or things they just don't seem to want to put away. They need us to put the effort in when it counts and they need us to find a way back to some sort of normal, even when things haven't been so good.
That's why this Valentine's Day, I'm not going to say thank you here, I'm not expecting all my friends to read my blog. I am, however, going to try and stop worrying about how I'm going to meet mums when my next little one comes along and appreciate what I have. Make more time to contact my friends and see if they are ok because really, I am very lucky and they deserve the effort.
I might not have a big circle of close friends, sometimes I might not know who to turn to, but really, everyone that I do have in my life is fantastic. They've stuck with me despite the changes in life and me figuring out who I am as a mum, they've been there even though I've been that awkward mum in the group who doesn't really know about girl talk. They've been that friendly voice it's been amazing to hear again and they've been the person to come along and brighten up the days which would have otherwise felt dark and lonely. On the days I've woken up feeling a bit alone, they've picked me back up and given me things to look forward to.
I really don't know what the future holds, who I might meet, or where I might go, but I really hope the close friends I have with me right now will be there for the journey and that I'll stop being awkward around them of course. Between them all they've made a year in lockdown bearable and though I might not be able to send them chocolates or flowers right now, I'll do my very best to be the friend they deserve in return.