This time last year I sent a text message to my friend Sue.
"Hi Sue, haven't heard from you for a while. I hope everything is okay. Take care, love Sx".
This was the third message I had sent Sue and it turned out to be the last. I never heard from her again.
I was disappointed, but not surprised. We had become friends at the Baby Signing class I took Presley to. I was heavily pregnant with Cash and Sue texted me regularly asking how I'd got on at the antenatal clinic. We started to meet at each other's houses for coffee. We went to her son's first birthday party in the November, with baby Cash. Then I didn't hear from her.
I sent a few texts and a Christmas card and had nothing back. She finally sent me a Happy New Year text as if nothing had happened and we picked up where we left off. We met weekly, taking our boys for walks in an attempt to get fit. We got on well. One day I even stayed in her house to feed Cash when she went out. I posted the keys through the front door when I left. She texted me when she got home to thank me for locking up.
I never heard from her again.
The significance of this story is that Sue is the only mummy friend I have made in two years living in Lancashire.
We moved here when Presley was three months old to be near Andy's family. We left behind, down South, our old friends and our new NCT friends. I met a few mums at our local Children's Centre, but stopped going when Presley started weaning. This was a bit silly, but at the time I felt I couldn't do both!
Baby Signing was the only other group I took Presley to. I wanted to make friends. I suppose when I became friendly with Sue I stopped trying to make other friends. I've never been comfortable with large groups of friends, preferring the company of one person at a time.
Mrs Scruff at She was not at all Domestic wrote a poignant post this week It's lonely being a mum. She describes so well how isolating motherhood can be.
As I had both babies within a year of each other I found it difficult to go out with both of them, but I knew I needed to bite the bullet. Once Cash could sit up and Presley could walk confidently and follow instructions, this was last Summer, we started going to our local playgroup and Bounce and Rhyme at the library. I now know a lot of mums. I know them to say hello to and to chat to, but I don't feel I've made friends with any of them. I haven't been invited round for coffee.
Perhaps this is my fault. Perhaps there are others who feel like me. Perhaps I should invite someone round for a coffee. What if they say no? We're planning to move back down South this year, so there's probably not much point making friends now. Deary me, I'm making myself depressed just typing this! Snap out of it woman!
Another thing happened this time last year though. A Good Thing. I joined Twitter and three months later I started blogging. All of a sudden I had adult company during the day. I could chat to other mothers. I could ask for advice and offer it too.
In the last year I have made more virtual friends than I have ever made in real life. I love reading about people's lives. I love the connection. It's so easy.
Yes, there are occasionally arguments, there's bitching and upset, but that's life.
I love my virtual friends and I think that some of them are becoming real life friends too. We're like minded. We're open. We support each other.
Some people don't understand this virtual world. They think we're mad or sad. Crystal Jigsaw wrote a brilliant post this week we are what we are on this subject. Now I'm online I can't understand what anyone gets out of watching television all night every night, but I wouldn't make the judgement that they are mad or sad.
I have made real life friends through my creative writing group, courses and workshops. Some of these people are parents, but that is incidental. I found these friends because of the internet. I will miss them when we move.
Am I lonely? I suppose the answer is yes and no.
This post was written for the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop. This week I chose prompt no.4 - What were you doing this time last year?