I first read this quote by Kristin Von Ogtrop on the editor's page of Real Simple. Later she included it in her book, Just Let Me Lie Down. Truth is, she had me as soon as she titled her original piece Can I Call You Back in 15 Years?If I refuse to participate in girls’ nights out now, who will go to lunch with me when I’m 80?
I may not be a mother of three, wife and editor of a successful national magazine, but I do know a little about juggling, prioritizing and finding it impossible to carve out a couple of hours each month to spend with my closest friends.
And that worries me.
I know some really great people. They are funny, kind, understanding and we go way back. Those kind of friends don't grow on trees. I have (briefly) gotten to know people who would make wonderful new friends. The Girl Scouts really knew what they were talking about: Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold. I want to keep my old friends (actually, they don't look a day over 25) and I want to enjoy new friendships. I miss grown-ups. I miss laughing, talking and dreaming. I miss sharing passages from books and new restaurants.
Working full-time and being the sole parent of two young children makes it impossible to do more than send an occasional e-mail or leave a two minute message on voicemail. Five days a week I am caught up in three schools' worth of tasks--packing and unpacking bags, making lunches, washing uniforms, searching for library books and signing permission forms. Saturday is spent shuttling between swim lessons and art class--each located two counties from the other. Although we're home by 3, the boys are tired by then and just want to lay on the sofa watching a dvd. I can't just leave them there and run off to a chick flick with a friend or two.
Speaking of which, I haven't been in a movie theater since December of 2006. I wonder how much a ticket costs these days....oh, don't tell me--it will probably be well over ten years before I can see another first-run movie. In 2025, will anyone still have my phone number? Will anyone remember what makes me laugh and what makes me cry? Will I?
It's not that I'm lonely. Life is too hectic. One can't be lonely inside a tornado--there isn't time or space. The thing is, I have to be home with the boys now. I don't have extra cash or free time to hire a babysitter. But one day Henry and Liam will leave me. My biggest fear is that on that day, I'll pick up the phone to call a friend for lunch and they won't answer. Why would they? They've spend 15 years making other plans.