I have a real life friend, Maddie, who has been with me through thick and thin. We met in prenatal class for Kaz, and we have been pregnant together and breastfed together, and raised kids and every other thing you can imagine. She was with me through every pregnancy, every miscarriage, every infertility diagnosis, every BFP, and every BFN. I told her about my pregnancies before I told Mr.Cotta. We shopped together, laughed together, argued and bitched about our husbands and got drunk together. We spent hours on the phone, and finished each others' sentences.
Until about a year ago. She had been having a very difficult time living at her new house, out in the far reaches of suburbia. She didn't drive and because her kids went to public school instead of private school, she had to stay in the house waiting for them to walk back and forth for the bizarre extended lunch hours in our system. Instead of being able to go out with me and do her grocery shopping or just get a coffee...she was sitting at home, trapped, watching a clock, scared her kids would be left unsupervised in a schoolyard if she was 3 minutes late.
She's had them at a private school before that, and of course, like my private school, they had slightly more flexible hours, aftercare, extracurriculars, heck, they even keep the kids for lunch and supervise them. So, you know, if your volunteer commitment/paid job keeps you 20 minutes late it's no biggie, or if you get stuck on the highway coming back from a doctor's appointment downtown, you're okay. They could afford private, but decided to try public because of a philosophical belief that it was a more ethical choice. I like public schools, but like most of my fellow parents, we are curriculum refugees; basically as long as the current hideous Ontario curriculum exists, we're not going to inflict it on our children.
Especially my learning disabled children---and hers, who also have some LD. And a year ago, we finally blew up over our differences. Because of my political activities I knew a whole lot about the background of the education system, and if she wanted to go for public school fine, but I wasn't going to follow her blindly. So she took it as a personal insult about her choices that I had decided to stay with the private system.
And it really wasn't. I also wonder if there were some violent hormonal outbursts mixed in on both sides. I was struggling with undiagnosed hyperthyroid, and everytime she blew up with me in the previous year was precisely four weeks apart. (I had emails in my archive that would burn a whole in your hand.) She's a year or two older...so perimenopause, perhaps? Some things were said, nasty, sad things. Some true, and some truths better left unspoken.
Anyway, she emailed me Saturday after a year of not talking and now she wants to be friends again, and she's bending over backwards. I spoke to her on the phone today for 2.5 hours, and I really want to be her friend again too. I really really miss her....but I'm a tiny bit nervous. There is still an elephant in the room.
A great big pink elephant labelled "The Mommy Wars".
I don't think I can go back to where we were, but I don't know where to go now. My life without Maddie would be sad, but what if she blows her stack at me again? It hurt so much the first time to get dumped....avoiding rejection seems like the safer choice. But the risk might be worth it....
So what do I do?
Not speak to her?
Keep her at arms length? Polite in public?
Be friends, but not quite as close...maybe just tell her a few things?
Or try to leap right back in to being a friends version of an old married couple who bitch all day and night, but never go to bed angry?
Gahhhh, the irony? That my first thought is, "I wonder what Maddie would say about all this?" Except it's about her...so I can't call her!