Monday, October 20, 2008
Memory lane and bumpy roads
(5h grade yearbook picture of myself I've never seen before Saturday)
Barely two months into school and my twin kindergartners are already bonding with new friends in their class - holding hands, having playdates, and missing them on the weekends. They each have their favorite school friend, but other friends are easily made, too. They will announce "I sat next to Sophia and now we are friends" or "Sam asked if I would be his friend and I said 'yes'". And, as an unexpected bonus, I'm also becoming friends with the fabulous playdate moms. Cha ching!
So, while we are all venturing into new friend territory, I've had a recent surge of reuniting with old classmates and friends (yea for Facebook!). Just in the past few months, I am now in touch with two friends from early elementary school, two sisters that my mom used to watch in her home daycare and later went to school with me, and a former roommate/friend from my early 20’s (who I'm meeting for lunch this week!).
It’s interesting how in my mid-twenties, I barely had any friends and felt a huge sad hole in my life. I made major choices that badly affected my friendships, but at the time I felt it was right, so I can't be too hard on myself. I was immature, bad at coping with hard stuff, and in survival mode. Hey, we all were. Fortunately, I found my amazing husband, but still felt like something was missing without close friends. When my grandmother died, I didn’t have a single friend to call that I thought would care enough to come over and comfort me with hugs and a casserole. I blame no one but myself, because I never really understood what it took to find, make, and keep friends. It didn’t help that I’m horrible with small talk and it takes me a while to warm up to people and let my guard down (one of my biggest faults). So, what I did was consciously study people who seemingly had a lot of friends and that made me want to be their friend, too. What I noticed was that these people made every friend feel very special to them, needed, and appreciated. Of course, it's way more complicated than just that, but still, there was so much to learn and practice.
Well, here I am many years later and luckily I don’t have the friend hole in my heart anymore. Although I will probably never have tons and tons of friends (like everyone else on the planet ha ha ha), the ones I have now, both old and new, I love and cherish. And, every day I am still learning about and practicing being a good friend, sometimes not doing so well and other times pleasantly surprising myself. I think this will take a lifetime to get right.
This past weekend I hugged and visited with some of these “old” friends in person at a sort of reunion weekend. It was surreal and marvelous to hug these women that I last knew as little girls in 5th grade. Now, we are the ones with children (talk about surreal watching our kids play together).
Some say that people from our past can show us who we once were, and that’s true to some extent. I also believe that these friendships make us who we are today, no matter how long or short of a time they were in our lives. Friends are a huge part of our memories, experiences, and lessons in life, both good and not so good. I think I’m at a point in my life where I can look back on my past friendships with love rather than regret.
I hope that I can pass on my friendship wisdom to my kids so they don’t have my same hang-ups as me. Funny, though, that I can probably learn much more from watching their simple and sweet friendships than over-analyzing mine. I do envy them. They can simply be in the playful moment, not thinking about whether the other kid already has too many friends and won't want to be their friend, or that they are boring, or that they won't want to be friends tomorrow because of something they said or did. It doesn't always have to be so damn complicated (like I tend to make things) and can sometimes just be fun in the moment, and hopefully save the heavier stuff for when it's truly needed.
(me and the sisters from daycare)
(former 5th grade classmates...don't we look hot?!)
Posted by Daria