Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sure, We Can Be Friends -- Just Ditch Your Kid

The phone rang the other day and that old familiar number popped up, but I didn’t answer it. This is the second time in two weeks that that number has rang my phone and I’m starting to feel a little guilty about avoiding “Sheila.” The thing is, the avoidance isn’t her fault. The problem is her kids. Well, one of her kids, that is.

Back in the day, Sheila and I were tight, despite her being quite a few years older. We lived in the same neighborhood and she doted on me like a mother hen. Whenever somebody wanted to fight me, they’d have to go through her first. I went with her when she got her first tattoo, she was with me when I got the second hole in my ear pierced. She encouraged me to be wild, I tried to get her to calm down. I'm not sure either one of us was successful in our attempts to influence the other. We moved away, but remained in touch over the years.

Recently, we got back in contact. The Sheila that I know is now a divorced mother of two – a son and a daughter. The few times we’ve hung out, they’ve always been to kid-friendly things. She’d call me up, wanting to hang out and I’d be all excited, thinking she wanted to go to the mall or to the club or something. Then I’d scratch my head in amazement as she invited me to Chuck E Cheese, birthday parties and other crap where I’d be wedged between screaming children.

Now, ordinarily this wouldn’t be so bad, if I was forced to be around kids who are enjoyable. Her 6-year-old son, love him to death, he’s my road dog, the cutest thing in the world. Her 12-year-old daughter, however, is a demon seed. She’s approaching those teen years and always seems like she has an attitude about something. I’ve seen the way she talks to her mother and grandmother and have wondered often why she's still breathing. Since I don’t have kids of my own, I keep my mouth shut.

So I’ve been dreading Sheila’s phone calls, knowing that she's just dying to invite me to the next birthday party. Maybe next time we get together I’ll suggest she leave the kids at home. Or at least, leave her daughter at home. Her son can roll. Hmmm... I guess that wouldn't go over too well. Oh well, I guess I'll have to find ways to flake out of some of her invitations.


Tha L said...

OMG, perfect post. I just had a conversation with one of my girls who has two sons (avoidance is NOT the answer,sis!), about how difficult it is for us to deepen our friendship because she has a "family" and I don't. My honest advice is to love your friend from a distance. To ask her to do away with the kids just so ya'll can hang out would be an insult, but it's also not fair to you for her to expect you to hang out at damn Chuck-e-sleeze. Ugh! Good luck dodging those invites!

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

Chuck-e-Sleeze; I love it!

And point taken. I'm not trying to back away from her completely. I'll be more than happy to pick up my relationship with her six years from now, which is when the oldest should be out of the house! Ahhh, I'm kidding. But it's soooo tempting....

mlle smith said...

I feel a little guilty saying it but generally I find my friends boring once they have children. :0I Also, I tend to not like the children of others...I think if I had my own children, obviously I'd totally heart them. I think I'd be one of those moms who always rolls out with her daughter.

But other the children of others?! Ugh. I generally find them annoying.

There are a few exceptions, though they are rare.