As I was putting my daughter to bed last night she told me I was her best friend. Those are the moments parents live for, and it got me thinking about the different types of friendships I have / had. Feeling nostalgic, thinking about memories both good and bad.
Making friends hasn’t always been easy for me. When I was a kid my parents had a trailer in a seasonal trailer park. We’d go every weekend and for weeks during the summer. I knew almost everyone and they knew me, as family all camped there too. I loved it through my younger years. But when I was about 12 the friend group I spent every waking moment with decided they didn’t want me anymore. They carved mean things about my weight into a bench. After that they’d ignore me, but I had a part time job cutting lawns so I had to continue to go up each and every weekend. It was torture, whenever I saw them they’d go the other way, no one would talk to me. It was a constant reminder that I was no longer good enough in their eyes. I’m not even sure the reason behind it to this day. Looking back I don’t feel angry about what happened, but I can still feel that hurt and melancholy when I think about it. That stays with you.
But one thing that experience gave me was appreciation. For every new friend I make, every person I’m nice to or bake cookies for, it means more. I value it more. A few years ago I was welcomed into a group of coworkers/friends who lunched (and now do dinner) together every month or so. Even though this group existed long before I came along, they accepted me and that is something I think about often.
In my later years, things were (and continue to be) much better. I’ve had a best friend since high school that is the best, I could tell her or ask her anything without judgment and would is there for me when I need her. I think about the high school parties we went to and the crises we had, that seemed so crucial at the time. Back then we walked through snow storms to the LCBO, met at the bus stop in the rain with one of us in tears and the other carrying ice cream. While our crises have changed as has the physical distance between us, I’d still get in my car right now and drive to her place if she needed me.
High school is what it is with its raging hormones and rampant insecurity, but I had fun friends and I am still friends with or in touch with quite a few of them now. There are some I haven’t seen in a few years that I still like to drop a line to every now and then and social media (primarily Facebook) allows me to see how their doing and how their lives are changing: growing families, new relationships, new jobs. I know there are a lot of people who gripe about our constant connectivity and the awful things about social media – and sometimes I agree, but I’m glad to have a forum to see how people are doing.
I think about the better high school memories, the one house we always partied at, the people I was close to and shared everything. The friend who mentioned me in his yearbook graduation write up that I’ll never forget as long as I live. A close friend I wrote notes to every day that has moved across the world, but technology allows us to keep involved in each others lives.
In University I didn’t make many friends, the extreme downside to living at home and now in residence, but during my post grad college year, I made up for that in spades, so many awesome people who I wish I saw more often. I miss you guys.
There are also the friends that aren’t part of my life anymore. I don’t have many but there are a few, one that was even a bridesmaid at my wedding. And while I think about that friendship often, miss it and wonder about it, I try to remember the good there too. Camping trips, crazy youthful drunken adventures, and so many laughs that even now I don’t try to forget. Would I change out situation now if I could? I’m not sure, but some things aren’t up to me and I try to be ok with that.
I just wanted to take a break from the lamenting about parenthood, money and the stress of the uncertain employment future to reflect. I guess what I’m really trying to say is thanks to you guys out there, for hanging out with me: past, present and hopefully future.