Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friendship

I figured since I'd started dissecting my post about what makes my life as a parent easier, I would continue that series. This time, I wanted to talk about the friends that have helped us along the way.

I have a friend who has often chided me for having "too many" friends. He doesn't understand how I can have so many friends and keep up with so many people. I admit, a lot of times I fail big time at being a good friend, because I can't keep up with everyone, and I'm generally not the most thoughtful person anyway. I can be a pretty big flake, and have gotten worse since being in law school. But my friends are really important to me and have often been a source of sanity.

Our friends have been really great to us, especially helping us through the difficult pregnancy and Cora's illness. The majority of our closest friends are our age or a little older, almost all are married, and two other couples had kids about the same time we did, one three months before, another two weeks after (both girls). Another friend of mine had her baby about a month after we did, but I don't see her as often, and a few other friends have kids that are older. The rest of our friends don't have kids, but still enjoy spending time with Cora, and will eventually have kids of their own, just not any time soon.

A couple of our friends have been able to help us out due to their flexible schedules, and have watched Cora when we were in a pinch. One friend was working at home for a month while his office was being remodeled, and watched her one morning while both Husband and I had class. Cora got a crash course in the world of computer programming. Another friend just finished her residency and has been studying for her medical specialty boards, so she's been off work for awhile to concentrate on her studies. Cora got to spend some time learning microbiology (she apparently thinks bacteria names are hilarious... she's definitely her father's daughter).

The great thing is that no one minds (or at least doesn't let on!) that we bring Cora out with us. We're really social people, and we want Cora to be social too. This is the age where kids really start to get separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, and I don't want her to have any sort of severe anxiety that will last through her toddler years like a few kids I've known, so I try to pass her off to as many friends as possible when we're out. So far she's done really well. She happily lets other people hold her, and gives them big smiles (and usually a nice big upchuck on their shirts, ugh. It's a wonder anyone ever wants to hold my kid, she's totally gross.) I don't know if anyone will want my kid around when she's mobile and especially when she's in her terrible twos, but for now everybody loves her and wants to see her, so usually we don't get a sitter, we just bring her with us. (Tomorrow night we're getting a sitter so we can go see the new Indiana Jones movie though. It better not suck!)

Aside from our closest friends, there are my friends from law school. I'm not the only one in my law school class with a kid, but I'm the only one in my group of law school friends with a kid. I have two friends in law school who are married, and three in long term relationships, but the rest are single and for the most part, a few years younger than me. (I get called the "old lady." Damn whipper-snappers.) My law school friends are strangely diverse. I usually try to avoid right-wing conservatives as much as possible, but somehow I ended up being friends with quite a few. It makes for some entertaining political debates to say the least!

Law school relationships are often complicated, though, especially if you actually give a crap about your grades. The environment is adversarial, and you're mainly connected through your misery. You find yourself jealous of your classmates' accomplishments, and feel guilty about your own. Even so, my friends in law school are pretty great. They even threw me a baby shower once we'd reached a safe point in the pregnancy (a co-ed baby shower too, because one of my male friends insisted he should get to go... the other guys protested, saying baby showers were for girls, but they were good sports and came anyway). I don't know if the friends I've made in law school are friendships I'll keep for life, but it's certainly made easier by the fact that these are my future colleagues. I had forged very close relationships with those in my master's program, but most of those friends moved away after graduation. Most of my law school friends will practice in the area, so I'll be able to see them more often.

Anyway, for me, the support system has been so important. While we haven't had to impose upon our friends a lot, it's a comfort to know that in a pinch, there are people there to help us out. When Cora was in the hospital, our friends stepped up and made sure we were taken care of, had non-hospital food to eat, and just knew they were there if we needed anything.

Then there's all you guys. What started as this silly anonymous blog, turned into this network of colleagues from different cities, states, and some different countries even. Women, and some men, who understand the difficulties of balancing a legal education/career with family. I am still so touched by all the support and prayers we had during the nightmarish pregnancy, and scary-as-hell emergency surgery. Not to mention that so many people who don't even know my name were willing to send gifts, send flowers, send money, (someone more local even offered to send a casserole!) to help us out. Thanks again for those of you who sent donations to Children's Hospital in Cora's honor. I think that really speaks to the kindness and generosity of people to just want to do something to help out when other people are in need. (Some might criticize that as naivety. I call it humanity. Not to mention good karma!)

So, yeah. Friendships are really important to us. They're our lifeline to reality, outside of the insanity of nursing school, law school and muddling through new parenthood. And we're really grateful that Cora will grow up with all these "aunties" and "uncles" who will serve as great role models for her. Someday she's going to think we're totally lame and clueless (sadly, she'll probably be right), so hopefully she'll look to the other "much cooler" adults for added support and guidance during that phase!

3 comments:

PT-LawMom said...

You're very lucky to have such a great support network. I really believe it takes a village. Growing up, I had so many great relationships with friends of my parents. It was wonderful to experience different viewpoints and lifestyles and also to have another adult to talk to. Definitely sounds like you're giving Cora a great base of people who care for her.

LL said...

Once again I could have written much of this post. I have some wonderful, nearly life long friends back in Texas, but they were too far away and really just not at this point in their lives to do much but tell me the baby pictures were cute. It was my law school friends, these people I'd only known for 2 years who were absolutely incredible with Landon. JP and I can't go out and let them babysit enough, when the little guy comes to visit school I barely even get to hold him, and I had many friends that just "stopped by" in the early weeks of his life to sit with me at home. Our law school, perhaps despite its reputation, is the least competitive place I've ever been and I start crying every time I think about leaving all these great people. Landon has been lucky to have such a social life - I hope we find more of the same in our new home.

Cee said...

I always feel guilty about my accomplishments in law school too, it's been really hard for me to be in a competative environment.

That's so great that you take Cora along with you- I bet she will be a very versatile kid. It's so great for kids to have many adult role models too.

Have fun at Indiana Jones I'm going this weekend too (I hope it's better than they say it is because I've been waiting for two years for it to come out!)