In Yom Kippur services yesterday, a friend came over. “Have I done anything to offend you this year?” she asked, earnestly.
“No, of course not,” I answered. “Have I done anything to offend you?”
“No, no.” She paused. “It’s just that we haven’t seen each other much lately and I thought maybe I had done something…” I quickly assured her that she has done nothing, and, frankly, I cannot imagine what this particular friend could do that would offend me.
I pointed up two feet above my head. “Honestly, the air is up there and I am just trying to get to it. I am treading water here.” She was gracious and understanding.
They are always gracious and understanding.
Over the past several years, I have spent so much time with one nostril above water, frantically trying to float, that I have been a negligent friend to far too many delightful and interesting people. I make choices about what is going to get done and those things happen consistently.
The kids get regular checkups and are up-to-date on their vaccines. We eat healthful, home-cooked meals. (I typed in “homo-cooked meals” first, which is a slightly different thing.) The kids have been to the dentist, we reward with sticker charts, we read with Zachary, Benjamin seems to finally be learning his letters, and Lilah is getting tested for all her food allergies. I read sometimes. Now and then we call J’s aunt whose husband is very sick. I exercise a few times a week. I dropped off muffins at a house with a new baby yesterday (because everyone likes to get home-baked muffins on Yom Kippur).
I write. Sometimes I even find time to submit articles and pitches.
But, these things are all that happens. There is a pile of stained clothing that sits in my bedroom, waiting to be turned into rags. It has been there for six months. Every now and then, when our current rags are disgusting, I grab a few old onesies and quickly tear them into rags. On top sits a box of clothes to be donated. I am two sizes behind donating Lilah’s old clothes.
The blinds in the boys’ room have been broken since July, but they are still functional. J wanted to know when I was going to schedule someone to fix them. “After I find time for a dentist appointment,” I snapped. I haven’t had a dentist appointment since I was pregnant. The baby is now a year old.
Our counters have piles on them. We need printer paper.
And I don’t call my old friends. I don’t get together with new friends. I rely on them to understand, to forgive. As they have done for years now.
I don’t understand why other people seem to have it together. Lots of people have three or more kids. But somehow they find time to keep in touch with people, to have dinner with friends. I put all that energy into playdates for my children and the infrequent date with my husband.
So, I write this, and I post this. I will send it out to all those people who I have neglected time and again. This is my plea that you will all forgive me, wait for me, and be there when I finally resurface, no matter how long it takes. Because I value you, even if I don’t show it enough.