I’m a girl’s girl — you know, group hugs, late night calls and “ladies only” trips. As a result, I have several very close female friends. We’ve matriculated through school together. Helped heal each other’s wounds after heartache, death and loss. We’ve celebrated life’s successes, such as new loves, degrees and homes. Having several “besties” morphed my life from Pinot Grigio, tart but satisfying, to Moscato, tasty, rich and always sweet. I have different friends who complement every facet of who I am, and vice versa. It’s also been a blessing to have various partners to go through life’s cycles with, which is what’s been happening… until recently… As my gal pals and I hit our late twenties the inevitable occurred: marriage. Yeah! Like many young women considering “happily ever after” my initial preoccupation was around benign yet fabulous topics such as dress hunting, bachelorette parties and pretty wedding photos. Then the next wave of nuptials hit. This time I was a bit older … and looking at my own time clock. Admittedly, my focus became a bit more introspective. Still, since I’m no Joan Clayton — think about the “Girlfriends” character’s meltdown around her friend’s marriage — I whispered my personal woes while making centerpieces and gift bags, between sips of sangria and loud banter with my ladies… and got over it. After all, as much as I’m looking forward to finding that ribcage I’ll call home sweet home one day, I could be no less than ecstatic for my girls as they found theirs… one by one. Like many of you, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings have filled the last few years of my life. I’ve smiled. Helped plan events. I’ve even thwarted a catastrophe or three. We rocked, rolled and looked haute doing it. My crew seemed infallible. Until the third wave hit: babies. Apparently, some married people, particularly newlyweds, do have sex … and they make children. Great for them, but it sucks for the non-mommies. Some of my great friends who are married with children feel that the single women in our crew have “mommy bias and segregation.” Honestly, I know I do. While I love each of my “nieces” and “nephews,” I am not a mommy yet. So spending more than one weekend a month at parks, museums or kid-friendly restaurants is simply not appealing. For friends who’ve experienced everything together, going through this life cycle is amazingly challenging. Especially for the moms who’ve lost the independence that accompanies motherhood. But they are not alone. What fresh-faced mothers and wives forget is that their single gal pals have lost something too. We lose the person who we could call whenever, to catch up wherever to discuss whatever. No more meeting up after work — that’s family time. No more late night conversations — new moms are exhausted and need to a catch a wink whenever they can. No more childless socializing — because being a hands-on mother is the new priority. All of this we “single ladies” have to come to grips with, or we’re vilified for being selfish and not understanding the importance of family. So we do, or at least I have. But I still feel like I’m losing. I’ve lost my girls. My sisters. My secret sharers. My tear catchers. My vacation buddies. I’ve been phased out — and so have they. I’ve replaced — and been replaced — with friends, kids and partners appropriate for our current life cycle. But we miss each other. Our love never faded, only our time. Our devotion never faltered, only our priorities. Our bond never broke; the pressure of wedding rings, stinky diapers and carpooling has only weighed it down. Today I’m trying to balance being a good friend to the ladies I love who are in a different life phase, while honoring what I need and want in my life. I adore children, and my girls, but I don’t always want to spend my downtime with kids. This is a challenge that none of us expected, but I know we can overcome … if all else fails in 3 to 5 years. Tell us your thoughts on balancing friendships with people who are in different life phases.
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