I know our friendship has changed since I had a family. I never answer the phone; I don’t return texts as quickly; I almost never “hang out” anymore. That’s because my priorities have changed. I would have warned you, but I didn’t know it was going to be so severe. I still love you as much as I always have, but I’m really tired at night. I really want to see you, but can you please come to my place? I know it’s far, but I needed a house and yard or I was going to lose my mind. It might be hard to have a conversation because my kids will be angry that I’m not giving then all my attention. I wish I could just tell them to be quiet and go play, but that’s not really how it works.
I hang out more now with families who have kids the same age as mine. That’s because when they’re playing, the adults have a little time to talk. If there are no other kids around, I’m responsible for all the entertainment and it’s exhausting. People with kids understand that I might have to leave in the middle of their sentence to get a juice box. They understand because they did the same thing to me five minutes ago. It’s not that I like them more than you, it’s because they understand the situation and that makes everything easy. I need things to be easy a lot these days, especially when it comes to “entertaining.”
I know you want us to just get a babysitter and drive out to your place and drink wine until 1am. I want to do that too, but I can’t. Not for a few more years. My kids are too young and they still wake up at night for various reasons. I want to be there when that happens as much as possible. So for now, you kind of have to come to my house. Understand that when you do, most of the afternoon will be about the kids and not about us. I’ll have to put the hotdogs on the grill before the steaks because if I don’t, someone will freak out and throw themselves on the ground. You’ll also probably have to spend some time by yourself while I take one of my sons inside to talk to them, read them a book, or put on a TV show. To me, it’s all worth it for that 15 to 20 minutes I get to spend with you totally uninterrupted.
I remember when we used to spend hours talking, drinking and playing pool. We’ll do that again, just hang in there with me during these few years when I need to focus on raising my kids to be interesting and happy. I’m terrified I’m gonna screw it up. My life is like finals week in college, and I spent all semester smoking weed and listening to ZZ Top. I used to be a child-free person who had friends with kids. It’s weird, I get it. It’s also really fun to play with someone else’s kids, and almost all of you do that really well. I encourage you to do it more, even if it feels awkward sometimes. They might diss you, but don’t take it personally; humans aren’t born with manners. Have them run little errands for you. It’s great that they can go in the fridge and get you a beer. They like doing it, and it will make them think you’re cool. Trust me, there’s no better feeling.
I miss you all and want to see you just as much as I ever did. I also understand that I’m a bit of a pain in the ass to hang out with. I take full responsibility for that. I yawn a lot and don’t remember stuff. Let’s just acknowledge that I am a distracted Alzheimer’s patient and try to see each other more anyway.