I had a friend call me selfish this weekend. I have to tell you that, it hurt, more than just a little. Not because of the power behind the sentiment, but because it rang more than a little true. I can be a little selfish and I am not afraid to say that I am proud of it...when I use it for good and not for evil.
Now, I digress a little bit, because I think that, in order for you to truly understand my point, you have to understand the context in which this "friend" (and yes, I am using air quotes as I type this because now I question whether the title of our relationship truly had any validity to begin with) called me selfish.
Let's call her Sara (names being changed to protect the guilty and all). Sara posts on Facebook, on Friday afternoon, that she's coming to Tampa. She didn't call me and tell me. I read about it on Facebook. I am bothered, but none the less, excited that she is coming down. I call her, and half-jokingly (but not really) chide her about making a trip to my area without letting me know. She claims that it was a spontaneous, spur of the moment thing and that she was going to let me know when she got here. Ok...I let it go. I tell her that I have plans that weekend (Friday date night with the hubby, saturday at the Florida State Fair with the kiddies, followed by girl's night out, and then relaxing with the fam on Sunday), but that she is more than welcome to hang out with me and mine (since we all viewed each other as family anyway) at the fair and then come out with the girls and even (gasp) bring her husband to tag along since she refused to leave his side and vice versa. She seems cool with this and even came out and met us at the fair the next day.
At some point during the day she texts me (we did not stay together the whole time. It was just her and her husband and me and my family so they went off to do adult things while I rode tilt-a-whirls with the kids until I darn near puked) and tells me that she is hanging out watching a show and to text me when I am ready to go. I text her back that my kids are riding the rides and that I don't think I am leaving anytime soon. After all, I am here for them and the whole point of taking them was so that they could do everythnig and anything that they wanted to do and have fun; eat too much cotton candy and fair food, puke, ride more tilt-a-whirls and scrambled egg rides until they puked some more, eat funnel cake and ice cream, puke some more, and well...you get the idea. I was not going to rush their merriment for the sake of a friend who didn't even tell me she was coming in the first place.
A couple of hours pass by and Sara calls to see where I am. We meet up and she tells me that her and her husband are going to head back to the hotel and that we are more than welcome to come by when we leave. We say okay and that I will call her later. We part ways and me and my kids and husband enjoy the rest of our evening at the fair. Now, mind you, I have made plans with the girls for later that evening, so around 8:30pm (a couple of hours after me and Sara part ways) I round up the family and decide that we should probably make our way home. I mean, 8 hours at the fair was more than enough, right? Besides, my daughter looks like she is, literally, running on cotton candy fumes at this point, and if I don't get her home and bathe her, she is going to burst into a pink, yellow, and blue cotton candy firework. So, we leave the fair. I text Sara and tell her we are just leaving, that it's late, and that I will text her later.
Later turns out to be roughly 11pm. I text her to say that the day has gotten away from me, that it's late, I am running late to meet the girls for some late night foolishness and ask if I could stop by the next morning to see her before she left. She texts me back that she is leaving early in the morning. I ask how early? She calls me.
This is where the story gets interesting because she tells that she is pissed at me, that I am selfish and that I am not really her friend and we are done. Now, I am sure you can understand that I am truly taken aback. I mean...really? Selfish? Not really friends? I don't get it. I ask her to explain. She tells me that her and her husband waited in their hotel for us to come by after the fair. That they could have made other plans, but didn't because they thought we were coming by, and that now, it's 11 o'clock at night and I am just now telling her I am not coming by. After she finishes ranting, I explain to her that I did not know she was coming, we did not make plans, that while I didn't alter my plans for that weekend, that I did offer to include her. I also remind her that I did not promise to stop by after the fair, that I was merely acknowledging the invitation and told her that I would call her later. I further elaborated that if being selfish was keeping a promise to my kids to make their days as phantasmagorically amazing as possible, and honoring a date with my friends that we had planned for weeks, well then, I guess I am just selfish.
And in the end, I am okay with that. Sometimes, selfish is an option. Which brings me to my next point...