My sister and I used to be each other’s number one priority. As not just family, but best friends too, we both would drop whatever we were doing to be there for each other. Then she got married. I thought for sure I’d lost her, but we still remained constantly there for each other. It was when she had my nephews, Jackson and Elliot, that what I had always feared finally happened: I was no longer priority number one. I had slipped down to priority number three behind those two ridiculously adorable monkeys.
As a woman in her early-30’s, my priorities are my family, friends and career. I do not have a husband with whom I have to cater, or kids I have to take care of and nurture. As I watch my parents age, they are my number one priority, as well as my sister, but since that has changed on her end I wonder if I should change it on my end.
This is just something that happens with a sibling, it’s also something that happens with friends. There was once a time when something monumental or even trivial happened, you could call your friends and they’d be there for you in a heartbeat, and vice versa. But as I watch my friends get married off one by one, and end up preggers, the tide is changing. The fact that I was stood up on a date or wasn’t offered my dream job no longer gets the same quick response of, “Oh my god! Let’s get a drink and talk about it!” Now I wait for a couple days, sometimes even a week or more, before I even get a call back.
I wish I could say that I fully understand, but I don’t. I don’t, because I’m not married and I don’t have kids. I can see how difficult it is to be a mom, but because that part of my life is still faraway I can’t fathom just how much my life will change. I know it will involve lots of spit-up and sleepless nights, but I like to imagine I’d still be there for everyone at the drop of a hat, if they needed me.
It’s not easy trying to maintain the close relationships you once had with friends or family members who have married and evolved into that stage of the game. When they do call you back, a lot of the time they spend the majority of it either cooing over their newborn or reprimanding Suzy and Bobby for getting into the cookie jar. Then, of course, is that part where they put Suzy or Bobby on the phone and you’re trying to be nice, but when Suzy and Bobby have a vocabulary that consists all of 30 words, you just end up asking the impossible, because you don’t know what to say: “So, ah, what do you think of that Paul Ryan character? You know, just mommy back on the phone.” The rest of the conversation is mostly one-sided with more reprimanding of Suzy and Bobby and when you finally get off the phone you realize that the input you wanted from your friend was never received because Suzy and Bobby have become priority number one and you’re somewhere else. You don’t even know what slot you’ve been downgraded too, but it’s evident and you slump over on your coach and wonder if maybe it’s time to shift your priorities around, too. Everybody else is doing it.