Circle of Friends

Early in my marriage, when Stephanie and I first started talking about the prospect of children, we were surrounded by a circle of friends who I couldn’t picture raising my kids without. In addition to the love and wisdom of family, our children’s lives would benefit enormously under the influence of the group of people we called our friends. But then, when kids didn’t come right away, and our personal ambitions drew us into graduate programs that ravenously consumed our time, that circle of friends began to dwindle. One by one, the people we cherished so much began to fade from our lives.

It was understandable, really. As Americans we expect a return on our investments, and friendships with us certainly weren’t paying the dividends they once had. Phone calls and emails went unanswered, social events went unattended, and, though none of this was done out of malice, the frustration of it all was undeniable. It appeared to many people as if we didn’t care.

One of the goals I set out for myself when we found out that a baby would finally be coming into our lives was to reconnect with the people we’d lost, to try and rebuild the bridges that had been unintentionally burned. But how do you heal the wounds wrought by neglect? When someone has been so hurt by your absence, how do you convince them that it won’t happen again?

These are tough questions, and with everything else that’s going on in our lives it would be easy to ignore them, to leave them unanswered. But there are so many people I want back in my life. I do feel as though this process of reconnection has been ongoing all year, and I can only hope that it will continue.

But I’m notoriously bad about making plans, mostly because I never have any ideas for socializing that seem interesting to me. People say, “Let’s do something,” and I’m like, “Yeah, let’s” but then we never do anything because I never have any idea what to do. And I’m also bad about getting back in touch with people after long periods because I convince myself that I have outdated phone numbers or email addresses. So please, if you’re out there, won’t you email me at chris@clarkwoods.com? This webpage may be an okay way to find out about what’s going on in my life (though there’s often a lot more than I can ever fit in here) but it doesn’t allow me to find out about what’s going on in yours.

And I want to know. I want you to be around when my baby is born, because those of you who have been so instrumental in my life are the people I want my kid to grow up around. When it comes to friends, I have been blessed. And I long for my child to be so blessed, and for me to be blessed again.