I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. (For the sake of anonymity, I’m calling her “Sincerity” for her complete absence of cynicism and her kind heart.) Since the last time we saw each other, she and her boyfriend bought a house with a room for her very own study, her boyfriend lost both his mother and grandmother, and the two of them have apparently decided they will most likely not have children. By choice. It’s been an eventful few months for both of us.
Sincerity and I have a lot in common. We’re both poets. We’re both introverted homebodies. Now that she has cable (finally!), we both watch too much TV. But our decisions regarding child rearing are not the only differences between us. She is probably the healthiest person I know. She’s a vegetarian. She does yoga and runs. She meditates. And then there’s her amazing sensitivity and compassion. She doesn’t have a mean or snarky bone in her body (unlike almost everyone else I know, myself included).
Because Sincerity also works with kids, she regularly gets asked the same questions I do: Do you have kids? and Don’t you want them? The answer to the first question is the same for both of us. The second, well, we both find it annoying and rude for completely different reasons. For me, obviously I do want kids but I’m not going to tell every random person who asks why I don’t have them yet. And for her, I think she feels like the asker assumes the answer is yes. But it’s not for everyone. And I can respect that.
I am so grateful for Sincerity’s friendship. She knows about our struggles and desire to have a family and asks how we’re doing. Even though she doesn’t relate exactly to what we’re going through, she empathizes with our frustration and lauds our patience. She is encouraging, and I don’t doubt for a second that she believes every word she says.
But somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I worry that one day, when Hubby and I are lucky enough to have the family we so desperately want, Sincerity and I will drift apart, separated by some enormous thing we will no longer have in common. Because when we’re wrapped up in our own worlds, like we have been the last few months, we each find it equally difficult to reach out to friends. But I hope we’ll try.