We had been friends since college/high school/church camp, then you had a child. I told you “call me if you need anything.” However, you were busy keeping a tiny person alive, and I never thought to call you.
To me, it seemed like a slow fade. “Oh, what happened to so-and-so? That’s right. They had a kid. I haven’t seen the baby yet. I should call.”
To you, it must have felt like a door slamming. Suddenly, an entire legion of friends — the ones who want to drink on Friday night and hike on Saturday afternoon — disappeared.
I might have called you once or twice to hang, but a night out sounds horrific when you might be awake again at 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
Pretty soon, I figured you didn’t want to hike or go to the museum or zoo, when all you wanted to do was get out of the house.
I’m sorry that I didn’t care more about the photos you posted on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I may have even unfollowed you if you had the gall to post more than once a week.
Now I get it. You weren’t spamming us. You were sharing your joy, trying to explain the happiness in the little moments and the elation in the big ones. And the frustrations. You shared those too, and that’s when I could have been helpful. I could have called, texted, maybe even offered to babysit. (If you had any sense, you’d decline, but I still could have offered.) I could have asked to see another photo of your kid.
I should have liked the snapshots — on the playground, trying to walk, with a face full of pasta. Should have loved them. Because you’re right, they were special.
I understand now, and I’m sorry it took this long.
And the funny part is that you never held a grudge. Or, rather, I never noticed if you did.
Because you were the first one I called when I had questions, when we wanted to go on a playdate.
You were that crafty veteran who was always willing to pitch a couple of innings when I needed a sure hand.
Kid won’t sleep? Call the veteran for advice. Kid won’t eat? Call the veteran. Don’t know if it’s normal when the kid eats through the spine of a board book? Call the vet.
You were a pillar of fire, lighting my path through those scary first few months.
And I’m sorry.
Now that I think about it, I should probably apologize to my parents, too.