Saturday, June 30, 2012

Going Home (and How that Changes Everything)

In a little over a week, I will be moving “home”.  Not just to the state I grew up, but back into the very same house where I was raised.  Although many of my childhood friends scattered throughout the country following our high school graduation, they too have begun their migration home to the point that only my best friend is still living more than an hour away from where we went to school together.  I am excited to once again be able to spend time with the women who defined my childhood and teenage years, with whom I’ve created incalculable memories with, and who have contributed to shaping the woman I’ve become.  Yet, just below that excitement is another feeling: uncertainty.

You see, of all  the friends I’m still in contact with from my hometown, only one is married and a practicing Christian.  None have children.  I don’t believe that a friendship requires both people to be in the same exact stage in life or to have the same lifestyle and beliefs, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have more in common than memories. 

It’s been fairly easy to maintain regular contact with my friends while I’ve been away.  While I can’t say we’ve talked weekly or even monthly, we’ve managed to remember birthdays, keep up with each other’s big occasions through social networking, and talk on the phone several years.  Most of my friends I’ve had the joy of seeing at least once every year or two, usually at the holidays when we’ve gone home to visit family.  With distance, our friendships have been easy to maintain.  We spend the time we have together catching up since the last time.  It doesn’t seem to matter that our lives are vastly different because these differences don’t affect each other. 

Once we are living in the same town, our vastly different lifestyles will be apparent.  I worry how these will affect my friendships. 

When talking on the phone with my friends, I’m happy to listen to their stories of celebrating their birthdays will all-night bar crawls.  But when I live a few miles away, will they understand that I can’t join them?  That I would love to meet to celebrate their birthday with dinner but my priority is to be home early to put my little one to sleep?

Will they understand that the activities we do together will be limited to free activities - dinners at home, a free concert in the park, a trip to the museum on the one free (and super busy) day a month?  That even when my husband gets a job, money will be tight for us so I can stay at home and we can welcome as many children with which God blesses us?

What will we talk about if we no longer need to spend the time together catching up on the last several months?  My day to day experiences as a wife and mother are quite different than theirs as career women in the dating scene.  I don’t belittle their lifestyle and I don’t mind hearing about it; I worry more about being that woman who just talks about how cute is her baby and how wonderful her husband.

Then there is the issue of faith.  It doesn’t come up much in short visits and over the phone, but it is a huge part of my everyday life.  How will faith differences affect my friendships?  I never try to push my faith on those around me, but I won’t hide it either, and I can imagine it making some of my friends uncomfortable.

Will my friends be hurt when I seek out new friends who share faith and family aspects of my life?  I would never suggest that anyone drop friends because they don’t share one’s belief or lifestyle (after all, I serve my friends by being an example of Christian love to them).  However, I also can’t ignore my need for friends that challenge me spiritually, speak up when they see sin in my life, and support me in the journey toward heaven.  I also need other moms to discuss the difficulties (and joys) of motherhood.  But will my old friends realize they are not being replaced?  Will I be able to balance family life with old and new friendships?  

Tell me a time in your life when your relationship with friends shifted.  What events brought on these changes?  How do you balance old and new friendships?  How have you met new friends?  How important is shared faith and lifestyles to your friendships?


  1. I'm basically in your situation where I've kept in touch with people from a distance.

    In terms of differing lifestyles, be very specific about what you can/can't do.  If David is going to be home, you could theoretically go out with a friend to celebrate their birthday but you can't be out until 2 a.m. and you aren't available to go pub-crawling with people.  If people come to see you, they're going to be hanging with Lucia because that's how you roll and she is your priority.

    In terms of differing faiths, that would (at least to me) be the easiest situation for a friendship because you can legitimately say that you can't do X on Sunday morning because you have Mass and the other person will understand because they know that Catholics go to Mass on Sundays.  Parenting styles might differ but I don't think you would parent any differently than a non-Christian would with a few exceptions.

    This is just from my limited experience in dealing with these things.  I'd see if you can find a MOPS group or something like that when you get back to Colorado so you'll at least have like-minded people with whom you can hang.

  2. Hi Mandi! I'm a new commenter, but I love your blog!
    I definitely think your worries are legitimate, but if those women are truly your friends, they should understand. Since you've been away from home and are now a wife and mother, your relationship with them can never be exactly the same as it was when you were younger. At the same time, I do not think that this means your friendships with them will be diminished! It will certainly take patience and understanding on both sides, but all of you can definitely make it work. Wishing you and your family all the best with your move!

  3. We'll be here. My husband is super excited at the prospect of having Catholic friends!

  4. Thanks for this post! I will also be in the same boat

  5. We look forward to meeting you and your husband once we get settled in. I forget, do you attending St. Joseph? That is the parish where we are thinking of registering. My grandparents go there.

  6. You've touched on something that is very close to me. I moved to Calgary AB about 6 years ago and met most of my friends while out at bars. Every social event had alcohol. As soon as I became pregnant, my husband and I stopped drinking, attending social events where alcohol was present, etc. everyone understood, because I was pregnant. As soon as I had my twins, my friends expected me to pick up where I started, socially. I didn't and I'm very lonely. We're now at the point in our lives where we are saving up to move back to Nova Scotia where we will have family, friends and faith.

  7. Rochelle, yes that's exactly what I mean! I know my friends expected things to change when I was pregnant, but I think that they expect me to just be able to leave my daughter with a babysitter (or my parents) and still do what I would have done before (but really, I haven't really been as part of the bar scene since I met my husband). But going out to bars and staying out late just doesn't appeal to me, it not just the babysitting issue. I'll pray for you that you will be able to move "home" soon!

  8. I think I just overthink these things, especially since there is not really anything I can do about it. I just don't like disappoint people or hurting their feelings.

  9. Thanks for making the plunge and commenting! I guess I'm not so much worried that my friends would be angry or not understanding, just that our friendships will end because there won't be anything keeping us together, you know?

  10. I think it depends on how you approach the first few outings. I go by a method of trying to attend ones that I know are most significant, while skipping the others. Most of my single friends are older {we all just turned 30 or are turning 30} and I think much more aware of my needs to care for my children above going out. And frankly, at 30, they don't go out like we all did in college.

    Also, between weaning my 2nd and getting pregnant with my 3rd, I made time for a girls' weekend. I met up in NYC with three close girlfriends, and we "partied" {I use that term loosely, because it is not the same at all for me as it use to be}. It was good for me.

    As for religion - I think it is important. It's important for relationships that you want to have that go deeper and are truly heartfelt {who can point you to truth}, but not necessary. I'm actually at a wedding this weekend for my friend who is Muslim. I'm a bridesmaid, along with our mutual close friend who is Hindu.

  11. Yes! I would LOVE to attend mass with y'all!!


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