Dear friends without children,
When we had our kids at the ripe age of 20, we expected you to start friend shopping. You were in a completely different world than we were and that was ok! We would never love you any less for that, but we thought the pure stench of adult responsibility lingering over us would scare you away. We swore that it would happen overnight. That’s what everyone told us, too. High school friends weren’t made to last. Well, YOU were.
We watched you as you awkwardly twitched while holding our first baby. She’d snuggle contentedly in your arms and you would be stiff as a board, trying not to break her. This smile you gave strangers when you’re trying to politely tell them “no” would over take your face, as we’d make small talk. She’d make a squeak out of hunger and you’d rush her into our arms again. These were the first moments of new relationships. Though we had known each other for years at this point, as you held the entity of the truest form of our love, we saw your eyes accepting all that is us. You, at that moment, became part of this family.
You didn’t have kids of your own (yet), but that didn’t mean a thing. To you, our kids were an extension. You know that honorary title of “Uncle” and “Aunt”? People have joked about our kids having too many, but there is a reason you got that title. It always has to be earned. You earned it with all of the nights you read them stories, the cuddle times on the couch and especially the times you tucked them into bed with a hug and kiss.
You didn’t have to take time to do that. You could have easily pointed to one of us and demanded that we do our parental duties. You’d walk in and just see the exhaustion written all over our faces as you swooped them up on the couch and began reading. And today, when I look over and see them nestled in your arms again, it takes me back to that first time.
It’s only been three short years, but there has been so much growth, in the comfort you all share, the experiences, and the bonds. You may not have realized it, but you are their first official friend. They will reference you in stories, request time with you, ask how you’ve been, and even social media stalk you when stealing our phones.
Our kids are obsessed with their “aunts and uncles,” as they should be. You have such an exciting life that is different from ours. It’s one really unique thing about this relationship. Most children are surrounded by other kids their age or other adults who don’t speak as openly about themselves. You share your passions, ideologies, and knowledge with them every single time you are with them. You may not realize it, but you do. Just by being here and engaging with them, you are making them a more well-rounded individual.
You’re doing that for us, too! Obviously, my husband and I could have just became social pariahs after having two babies before age 22, but you kept us around. You allow us to share in your experiences and even dare us to venture out of our comfort zones. It’s so easy to get set in a routine as a parent that is only for and about the kids. It’s easy to get depressed because you feel like you’re losing yourself. Every time you shoot us a text, call us, or come over for a bit, we are regrounded. We are reminded that kids are important to our lives, but isn’t the sole purpose for our life. Overall, you make us better people and inspire us to be more than just a parent.
At the same time, you have this respect for us being a parent. You know how hard it can be and you listen to our complaints. Never once have you taken those and said “I told you to wait.” Instead you allow us to vent to a source that isn’t going to give us an answer, but you tell us about the confidence you have in us getting through it. You give us the support we need to get through the rough days, without being judgmental.
Seriously, all of this is just me trying to say thank you! Thank you for being friends for our son and daughter. Thank you for being there for all of us. Thank you for making us better people. Thank you for growing with our family and never letting go. Just when we thought we couldn’t love you anymore, you choose to stick through this parenthood thing with us. We will always appreciate you for that.
Your Mommy friend