One day we took my husband to work and headed to the little petting zoo in the next town over. The sun was shining. It was warm–warm for March in Chicago: 53 degrees according to the car. My son was happily speaking his toddler-speak…something about planes, sky, and going to the “zoom.” I had all of this wonderful light, bright, happy, great stuff going on, and yet. . . . And yet I was so overwhelmed; drowning in sorrow, loneliness. I almost started crying.
That morning I just felt so alone. There was no one to share my happiness with that day. No one to share that school-girl giddiness. No one to call up and meet for coffee and a quick chat in the backyard. I missed my old home. I missed my friends. I missed the tall oaks–how they lined the streets and shaded you from the mid-day sun. And the broken-up city sidewalks with their names set in blue and white mosaic tiles at each intersection. I missed the strawberry smoothies and melt-in-your-mouth croissants from the coffee shop down the road. I missed the old craftsman windows and Tudor peaks, the sirens from the police station on 63rd, and the neighborhood market with its fresh flowers and juicy scallops.
I am used to being alone. After all, I am an INFJ—emphasis on the “I”. My family moved around a lot when I was young (it is difficult to cultivate deep friendships when you move every 1-3 years). Before children, my Saturdays were spent walking down to the coffee shop, reading best-sellers, watching movies in bed, and running on the trails— alone.
There are few whom I call friends; I consider most to be acquaintances. And over the past few years I’ve become quite stingy with my friendship, extending it only to those whom I deem worthy. (Wow. I hope that doesn’t sound like I think my ish don’t stink. I just am more careful about in whom I invest my time and energy.) Yet, lately I find myself craving connection on a level that I never have before.
I was not prepared for this loneliness thing. When I envisioned my life as a stay-at-home mom I saw myself carting the kids to and from playgroups and playdates, chatting it up on the park bench while the children slid down the slides. There is some of that, but not nearly enough. It turns out that as I have gotten older, become a wife and a parent, making friends has not been so easy. Family schedules don’t always mesh. Children do not always play nicely. Parenting philosophies differ.
I thought that I could fill the void by connecting with my tribes online. Don’t get me wrong—the places and spaces I found on the internet are full of inspiring individuals and communities. They are uplifting, supportive, encouraging and all around awesome! However, they are no replacement for real human, face-to-face interaction. Virtual hugs do not compare to the warm embrace of a kind soul. I prefer “LOL”s to be literal: deep hearty laughs exchanged over a glass of wine and a medium pepperoni pizza. We humans are not made to be alone. I need to go find my people.