When I saw them tonight, we talked again like we used to. We laughed, we commiserated, we shared. I realized again how deeply I've missed them. And how deeply I regret not having been a part of their lives for the last 5 years. The three of them have managed to stay in each other's lives, despite living in three different states--one is in law school, another just finished her MBA, the third is heading into her 10th year of teaching junior high English. It's obvious they harbor no resentment toward me, but also obvious that I am no longer part of that circle. They are three now, without me.
Do I wish I hadn't gone to grad school? When I was in the middle of it, I wished I had never had the idea, but finishing grad school was absolutely one of the top 3 self-defining achievements in my life. Do I wish I hadn't gotten married? Of course not. Marriage is great. I adore my husband, and still wonder how I ended up with someone so darn cute. What I do wish is that I could have had the perspective that I have now; that I could have seen a way to go to grad school, get a husband, AND keep those girls in my life. It wouldn't have been that hard. A couple of nights a month would have been enough to let them know that I cared.
When my daughters get engaged, I hope I will be able to help them see the value in setting aside some time to hang out with the girls. It's so hard to see it when all you want to do is be with that wonderful guy that you're so in love with. And he is wonderful. But I miss those girls. A lot more than I have been letting myself realize. And I'm afraid it's really too late now to make up for lost time.