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Getting By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Heart shaped polka dot coasters

My original plan was to write this as next week's pregnancy post. Then I realised that today is Galentine's Day - when better to celebrate my friends?

Although "Galentine's Day" is a bit limiting. Perhaps "Palentine's Day" would be better. The male friends in Steve's and my lives are right up there with the female when it comes to deserving our thanks.

We knew we had good friends. That has never been in question. But, you know, it's easy to get on with normal life, meeting for coffee or dinner or drinks, chatting by text or liking the occasional status update, and not really stopping to think about the strength of those friendships.

If I had stopped to think about them I may well have guessed that the friendships meant more to me than to my friends; that I was the one keeping them going; that I wouldn't necessarily be missed if I faded away. It's usually me who suggests meeting up or who coordinates group activities. Many of my friends have much larger social circles than I do. I would have assumed that I was relatively disposable.

And that's whilst liking myself well enough and thinking I'm a good person to be friends with. But, you know, there are lingering adolescent insecurities in all of us. A couple of formerly close friends have vanished out of my life along the way - it's entirely plausible that more could do the same.

But the last few months have really brought home to both Steve and me how much our friends care. These are two-way deals. These people value us and we very much value them, too.

When I was about sixteen weeks pregnant, Steve had a fairly major operation. He was bedridden for two weeks and weak for a few weeks after that. I, meanwhile, was still suffering from early pregnancy exhaustion and already struggling with the pelvic girdle pain. Neither of us was in a fit state to properly care for the other but we were touched when our friends rallied round, coming round to care for him while I was at work, appearing with dinner and flowers for us, reminding us that they and their cars were on call in case of emergency.

Those few weeks would have been (more) awful without them.

And now I'm stuck at home the vast majority of the time. Although I don't really get bored, I do get frustrated not being able to head out for dinner or a movie or a mooch around the shops.

More than that: I get frustrated about how little I can do around the house - I can only do minimal cleaning and tidying and there are very few DIY tasks that I can manage.

Our friends have been amazing.

Oh, there are those who have faded away. I expect that's inevitable. Some friendships are more about socialising than mutual support and they can falter when people's lives change.

On the other hand, others have grown stronger and that's been a lovely surprise.

So, yes: over all, our friends have been incredible.

Far away friends have been sending more emails and more text messages and generally making that little bit more effort to stay in touch - I can't stress how much that means to me right now.

Close at hand friends have come round with biscuits and flowers and cake and - most importantly - chatter. A lot of them are insistent about lifting the kettle themselves or helping out with little jobs while they're here.

Our closest friends have gone above and beyond, helping us get the flat in order. There have been lifts; there have been uploads of unwanted items. The attic has been completely emptied and completely refilled. Loads of DIY jobs have been done without me having to do more than offer round some biscuits.

We've thanked people with pizzas and home cooked meals but they've all made it very clear that the help would have been here regardless.

And that has blown us away.

A lot of them have or have had their own things going on recently. One couple was buying their first home; another is planning a wedding for the same week as my due date. There have been several bereavements and some health scares. Some are job hunting or having worries about work. Still, they have been there for us.

I'm not surprised that our friends are considerate but I'm surprised by the level of support they've been showing us and incredibly touched.

So I wanted to take a little time to thank them.

We very much love them all.

Yellow and purple flowers

5 comments

  1. I love you guys, but now I'm just a soggy mess in my office. Just wait till we get the stench of smoke and frabreeze plugins out the house! X

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  2. You may find a lot of your old friends are still out there and thinking of you if you wanted to reach out to them. I think all friendships are a two way street and sometimes there are ups as well as downs. Sometimes people fall out but they can get back together. I know you are having a difficult time right now, but it will be wonderful when your baby arrives. Hang tough! Elinor x

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  3. This line - "If I had stopped to think about them I may well have guessed that the friendships meant more to me than to my friends" - I related to so much. I've always felt that way about my friendships, sometimes to the detriment of those friendships. It's been a long hard battle, one not at all won yet, to realise that sometimes... ok, often... people are friends with me simply because I'm worth being friends with, and that our friendship means a lot to them too.

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  4. I suspect most of my friends have the same sort of insecurities - it's a shame to think of us all nervously hanging around, hoping that the others really like them!

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  5. I don't think I've ever fallen out with anyone - in the past, some people have moved on and some people haven't liked how I've moved on and, when they decide the friendship is over, the dignified thing to do is to accept that. I'm not going to chase around after someone crying because they've unfriended me on Facebook!

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