After work on Tuesday (yes, I actually had an assignment), I went for coffee with an old friend. I was pretty darn excited, to be honest…. maybe way too excited. Looks like I need to get out more if I’m this ecstatic over a coffee date. Anyway, the friend I was visiting is a college friend that packed up and moved to Colorado to begin her life’s adventure. We were good friends for only a short time in the scope of things, but during those few years many life-changing events occurred for both of us. We both graduated from college, we both started and/or ended major relationships, we were there for each other during some difficulties, and most importantly we had a whole lot of fun getting into the usual trouble early 20-somethings enjoy. I hadn’t seen this friend since early December last year, so we had some catching up to do!
It was great seeing my old friend! We talked and talked about old times, current times, new life adventures, struggles, and her new passion: motherhood. I even got to hang out with the little “mini-me” version of her! And how precious was she! I’m so happy for my friend. I truly believe she is so brave for going out into the world without doubt or fear to find the life that was waiting for her. It’s admirable and inspiring.
After our coffee date, my mind wandered a bit. Before December, my friend and I hadn’t seen one another or even talked much in quite some time, even though there wasn’t any bad blood between us. There wasn’t an altercation or argument…. somehow we just grew apart. Life happened.
Thinking about this allowed me to venture back to the many times this has happened in my life. Every time I get too nostalgic, I can’t help but to mourn the many friendships that have been special in my life that have disintegrated or vanished into the past. Those friends from grammar school, the friend down the block, junior high friends that went to a different high school, some high school friends or college roommates, and even some work friends…. all these friendships just ceased to exist (well, except on facebook). It seems like some relationships just dissolve when common interests or shared experiences are no longer a factor. It’s sad, but it happens to everyone.
I suppose it’s natural to grow apart from certain individuals. At the time you believe your relationship to be indestructible and fierce. Naturally, though, outside factors influence our lives and people change courses. It seems foolish to believe that kids you’re practically forced to grow up with will be there for you during your entire life. I mean, really, do you have a choice when you’re a child? The kids on your block or the kids you go to school with are your friends. But when we are so young, we don’t think like that. BFFs, right? Forever and ever. We girls make each other friendship bracelets and wear charm-necklaces bearing one half of a heart inscribed with the word “Best” or “Friends” that fit together like two puzzle pieces. Eventually, you both lose the necklaces or wear-out your friendship bracelets, just as your friendship gradually drifts apart.
Sometimes we completely luck out, though. Sometimes those same childhood friends are the people who stick around and support you no matter what, forever and ever. I have one of those. Laura Carroll. We’ve been besties since we were five. To be quite honest, she didn’t have much choice in the matter. The first time I met her, outside of school on the first day of kindergarten, I told her she had to sit next to me in class and that she would now be my new best friend. I was a bossy child and Laura, being completely easy to coerce, did sit next to me. Surprisingly enough, even after she moved away 3 years later, we did end up staying BFFs— forever and ever. I was wise well beyond my 5 years of life in choosing her. I couldn’t imagine life without Laura. She is the sister my mom and dad forgot to make for me. Today Laura and I do not see one another as often as we would like, but when we are together, it’s as if no time has passed. When we were tiny, we used to tell everyone that we were going to go to college together, live together, and eventually buy houses next door to each other. So far, two of the three have actually happened. Only time will tell if we’ll get to be BFFs and neighbors.
Of course there are other great friendships in my life, as well. Jacob, the man I intend to marry, is my other BFF. I consider myself lucky to marry one of my best friends. We’ll even have it contractually documented—with signatures and witnesses to seal the deal! See this post here to read more about Jacob.
I’m also lucky enough to still have a few close relationships with friends from high school. I was even honored as a bridesmaid in another of my best friend’s wedding recently. This particular friend and I talk on a weekly basis. We spend our time venting about life and trying to plan visits into our busy schedules, but mostly we laugh. She can find a humorous silver lining to any bad situation. I also have a few guy friends from junior high and high school that have kept in touch over the years. In high school, we would sit around bonfires or coffee shops until three or four in the morning talking about life and how we hoped to still be hanging out when we’re 40. Well, we have ten years to go, but we’re well on our way.
And I couldn’t possibly leave out my close family friends that I have known since around birth. You know the kind of friends I’m talking about— the kind of friends that are more like family than anything else. These relationships are created when groups of friends (in my case, my parents and their friends) have babies around the same time, stick their kids together, and hope for the best. These are friends I will always consider close friends…. even if we only see each other a few times per year. These are the friends with whom I have created such great memories—dancing recitals, massive sleepovers, picnics, vacations, camping trips, huge parties, and so much more. These are the friends that define my childhood and friends that I’m always overjoyed to see.
I’ve been blessed to experience many friendships within my 30 years. Some come and go, some stick for good, and some have disappeared altogether. But one thing is sure: they are all special, unique, and have shaped the person I am today. I’ll still continue to miss certain friendships I wish ended differently or never ended at all, but I believe that things happen for a reason. People come into our lives to serve a purpose—some stay while others need to move on. That’s just the way life goes.
Everyone leaves footprints in your memory, but the ones that leave footprints in your heart are the ones you will truly remember ~ Nicholas Sperling