I miss the university days of dropping by to each others rooms, hanging around drinking coffee or wine, setting the world to rights; I miss the work days of knowing so much about these people you see every day, sharing a private language, sharing angst and frustration and terrible jokes. I miss my old pre-baby friends, regular contact, making plans, spending easy time together.
Lonely isn't the right word at all. Perhaps isolated? Of course I still know the people I always knew - I sent Christmas cards, many of those dear and close were at our wedding, on the text-list when Isaac was born, and so on....but I feel unconnected. I know I'm terrible at trying, always was, to be honest, but now the logistical difficulties just seem overwhelming. I can't go out in the evenings, Isaac needs me; I can't make phone calls at the weekends, Isaac just grabs the phone; I can't write lovely long chatty emails, because every minute that he's asleep, I'm working.
My pre-baby friends without children go off and do fun adult stuff at the weekends (that's not, as a rule, anywhere near as rude as it sounds) and there's no space for mother + toddler. A year in South London had me just about getting to friendship with some other mums (after a sparse few months in west london before that), but now we're not there, and I'm meeting people here, but how on earth do you get to the stage of being actual friends? How do you move to inviting people round, to having proper conversations with them, to being open enough with each other to get close? They're all settled already, they know people, or they have other children, or whatever else, I don't know..and of course at weekends most normal women are spending quality time with their other halves - no one wants to meet up then.
Not, I should repeat, that I'm feeling lonely. Isaac is a delight to spend time with, and we're busy, and I never find myself wondering what to do with my time. I just miss having that genuine warm connection with people, and I don't know how to get it back with my old friends when our lives have charged off on such different paths, or how to strike it up with new ones. I don't know how to reassure my old friends that they really are still so often in my thoughts even if they never hear from me, I refuse invitations, I take weeks to respond to emails - and I have no idea when I'll be back in a position to do that nurturing. It's not like being busy at work for a few weeks when you know it will be over. This is my new life, now (well, no longer particularly new) and I've chosen it, and I love it, and I wouldn't swap it, but what can I now offer, how can I be interesting when all I can talk about is sheep and horses and pompom matching, and technical accounting, and the things I'd be reading if I had more time? I've got a whole post brewing up about staying an interesting person while so occupied with the crucial trivialities of toddler world, but at the moment it's mainly just a general cloud.
I expect that patience is the answer, and turning to inner resources, and leaning on the new kinds of connections it's easier to make in internet-world....but it doesn't stop me from having the occasional sense of a kind of melancholy detachment. Any tips, anyone?