My Dear friend who’s somewhere “In between”,
You’re “in between” phases in your life.
Maybe all of your friends are getting engaged and feel like the forever single friend.
Some of you witness your friends one by one get married and you just broke up with someone you thought you’d marry.
Others of you are married and everyone’s having babies but you.
Or you’re marriage just came to an end and you’re starting over.
Your “in between” phase is exactly that. The actual definition reads, “Situated somewhere between two extremes or recognized categories”.
It is not a permanent spot. You’re not going always going to be “in between”.
Do you know how amazing you are? I always talk about how much I love you when I’m with my other social circles or family.
I want you to be happy, I want you to know that you are more than worthy of the greatest life. You deserve it and it will come.
Wait for it.
While you’re waiting for it,
Enjoy whatever “in between” you’re in.
I know that’s much easier to just say coming from the friend who’s no longer “in between”, the friend who got all the things she dreamed of.
Let me tell you about three people’s “in betweens”…
they all have the same thing in common. They made that time in their life the best it could be.
Actually I could probably tell you one hundred but I’ll spare you…you’ll get the point.
First person I’ll tell you about is my best friend:
My best friend who was “in between” for pretty much the whole 5 years when I was dating my husband. She’s a couple years older than me and she was super single, lived with her parents, worked a lot, and hung out with friends. She wondered if she would even get married, I wondered too. She seemed content alone but who doesn’t want someone to love and be loved back in that special way.
We spent so much time together, working two different jobs together, hung out a couple of times a week, and then would go out on the weekend at some point. She even hung out with Pete and I a lot when we dated. Her and I joked that I would get married and she would move in with us. She never cried the blues and she was always happy for me even though she was in a transitional place.
Shortly before I got engaged, Pete and I introduced her to the man she is now married to! It was a pretty instant connection when they started dating they were pretty much inseparable and they moved forward with things fairly quick. She met the love of her life and things took off! Quick enough that she was married the year after me, and had her first child about 2 years before me.
My point is, even though I was in a relationship and she was single for years, didn’t change anything in the long run. You never know when you’ll meet the love of your life. There’s no rule about how short or long you have to date before moving forward in your relationship. You just need to be true to yourself that you’re not settling for someone just for the sake of having someone.
She made the best of the place she was in. She waited til it was the right person, at the right time. When the time came, and he was there, it was undeniable. She enjoyed her “in between” and came out winning because of it.
Then there’s this other friend…
My other friend sacrificed her a huge part of her life taking a break from teaching and raised her daughters. We worked at a salon together. During this time, she was in an unhappy marriage that was unraveling before her eyes. She opened up about her failing marriage and thought it was coming to divorce but it seemed like that went on forever with no action to do so. I actually got irritated hearing about it. I couldn’t understand anything about her situation. I didn’t know what it was like to be in a marriage at all especially in one that was hurting her. I also didn’t understand motherhood and how you think of your kids before yourself.
We actually lost touch because I was in the happiest time of my life getting engaged with blinders on and ignorance. I felt like she was just a Debbie Downer always telling me how terrible marriage was. I didn’t “believe” in divorce. I never took into consideration that maybe once upon a time, she didn’t either. Our places in life clashed and we just slowly stopped talking.
That was wrong of me to do. Now being a little older, wiser, and more compassionate, I can’t imagine how scary that time in her life must have been and feel terrible I wasn’t more supportive.
Fast forward three years after that time,we reconnected. She’s no longer in her marriage that ended for reasons beyond her control, she’s back teaching after years of being a stay at home mom, she moved family to one of the most prestigious towns where we live, and she stands on her own two feet like a MOM BOSS! She may be “in between” again, but that’s much stronger than being complacent in her unhappy place. I love watching her regrowth in this stage because she does it with such grace and humor. She’s given her girls an example that it’s never too late to start over again for happiness.
I’d say I’ve always been a good friend but I definitely have become a more compassionate friend from my “in between”. When I no longer got whatever I wanted, had to humble myself, get on my knees and pray for what felt like may never happen.
The third person I want to tell you about is me…
I was “in between” when all my friends and family all had kids before me. Some of them got married after me, some of them never married at all but started families. I didn’t understand how I was “in between”. If you’ve followed my other posts, I’ve told you things about myself like, I need to be in control of everything & I wanted a family right away. How was I in this in between phase? I thought that because I did everything the “right way”, naturally I should just be the one who gets pregnant, and start my happy family.
I was still always happy for everyone who got pregnant and had beautiful babies. I listened to all the baby talk and excitement. I still showed up to every baby shower and kids party even though I was the childless friend who wanted that life so badly. I even went to a baby shower with joy for my friend the same weekend I went through my saddest time miscarrying a pregnancy. I told myself, if I can’t be a mom, I’ll be the best aunt that ever lived.
but slowly, this happened…
I lost some friends because my married friends with kids didn’t connect with me anymore. I thought everyone got busy and wasn’t group texting anymore. I didn’t realize they were still going, I just wasn’t a part of them anymore. I slowly stopped getting calls for regular get togethers because it basically became a mom group. Some people even quit sending invitations to the kids parties because they said it was kind of an unwritten understanding you didn’t invite friends without kids because you don’t want childless friends to be bothered on their weekends with a kids party or spending their money on the gifts. But actually, my heart was broken from feeling shut out.
I thought these people were my friends. How could they just abandon me when I was at the most uncomfortable place in my life.
I clung tight to my “childless friends” who are mostly not married. We went out and had so much fun! It’s not always about finding someone for my single friends but you know, they still gotta be putting themselves out there. I appreciated that my husband was always cool and let me tag along with my girlfriends because otherwise, I would have been sitting at home by myself every night in an empty house that I thought would have been filled with the joy of children.
These friends got me through some of the saddest times in my life. They kept me joking, laughing, staying happy, and most of all enjoying what came out to be my last couple years before mommyhood, when I could just go out whenever I wanted or get on a plane and travel. It was actually some of the best memories even though it was such a transitional time.
My married/mom friends probably didn’t get it. Some of them judged me for my nights out, girls trips, etc. but I don’t regret one second of that. My friends were holding together broken pieces of my heart with gut laughs and happy tears.
These friends soothed my soul.
I can’t be mad at my friends with kids who I felt left me behind because they just didn’t understand. Sometimes it’s hard to understand someone else’s place that they’re in if you haven’t ever been there. I was guilty of that too. So if you’re like me and felt like that happened to you, just let it go.
If you’re the person who hasn’t been as supportive to your “in between” friends, be more conscious of things you don’t fully understand and keep your friends close to you no matter where they’re at in life.
The saying, “what goes up must come down” comes to mind…
You never know the lows you could fall to, so don’t judge or abandon, just be there.
My “in between friends”
The friends who not only never left but wiped my tears and held me tight…
The ones who are ridiculously funny, beautiful, intelligent, and kind…
You mean so much to me, I could never explain to you the utmost admiration, love, respect, and appreciation for you!
Enjoy your “in between” time.
Have faith that you’re there because that’s where you’re supposed to be.
Jump on that plane and take that trip.
Go on that date.
Stay out too late.
Spend a little too much.
You’re in a place where you can and you should!
Your time will come to fall in love (or fall in love again). Your time of motherhood may be right around the corner. Your marriage may have crumbled, but you don’t have to. Take control of your happiness by accepting your “in between” and thinking of it like a road trip and discovering new stops along the way to your desired destination.
For the ones who “have it all”…
Do you remember when you wanted everything that you have now and how badly you wanted it?
Soothe your baby a little longer when your first response was to cringe at the sound of their screaming lungs. Cut your loving spouse a break when you were initially going to point out one of their many flaw that bother you. Put your phone down and listen to your dramatic pre-teen tell you about their worst day ever and remind them, this too shall pass.
Call your friend who’s “in between” and be there for them. Don’t complain to them about your sleepless night or how your spouse is driving you crazy.
Don’t judge their “in between” because you can’t understand it. STOP and LISTEN to them.
I know you’re a tired parent but get a sitter, chug a red bull, get dressed, and take your “in between friend” out. They deserve it. They celebrated your engagement, your bridal shower, your wedding, your baby shower, sat at home with you when you during pregnancy, and rushed to visit you at the hospital when your angel came. And they were so happy to share those happy moments with you no matter what was going on with them.
But when was the last time you did something with them, for them, just because?
If your answer was on their last birthday with 15 other people there, that’s too long ago.
If your answer is so long ago you can’t think of it off the top of your head… pick up the phone and set a date.
Your “in between” friends are some of the most special people in the world.
Ones that will give your children the same unconditional love they’ve given you.
To my friends “in between” phases, I love you & thank God for you every day. I love watching you persevere through the growing pains of life’s transitions. I’m always here cheering you on the same way you have for me.
Find joy in all of your journey,
Leanne, Spoiled Milk