Do you have a best friend? Growing up I had a few good friends. In elementary school I had friends in my class but my best memories are playing with my friends in the neighborhood. We would ride bikes through the park, plan elaborate water balloon fights, walk, talk, build forts, ice skate and sled in the winter and run through sprinklers in the summer. Some I have reconnected with on Facebook. Our lives have taken us in very different directions, and while I can no longer call us “friends” the pull of our shared memories is still very strong.
I went to middle and high school in a different state, having moved for my father’s job. It was hard. Very hard. But kids adjust and I found a new group of friends. The friends I made in middle school became my friends in high school. Again, just a few close relationships. I will never be the person with 400 Facebook friends. I have never felt the need to cultivate that many friendships in my life. The bonds with these friends never seemed as strong as my Massachusetts friends. After graduation I moved again, this time to Pennsylvania and I only kept in touch with one of my friends. We are friends on Facebook, but we don’t talk on the phone or get together in real life.
I really won’t address college, where everyone knows you find you friends for life and most of the people I know also found their husbands. Not so much for me. I had friends. I had roomates. It was the hardest four years of my life. I feel that that time of your life, finding out who you are, making decisions about what you want to be, determining if the values you were raised with apply to your newfound freedoms, should be spent with more of an anchor to your family. I was too far from home. I have never looked back on college.
I found my real friends as an adult. They are the wives of my husband’s friends. They are former co-workers. They are neighbors. They are other homeschooling mothers. I feel like I have waited my whole life for the kinds of friends I have now. I have new friends, who I am relaxed and comfortable with. I can let them into my house knowing they will look past the piles of laundry in front of the washer, the dishes in the sink and look instead at the artwork on the walls, the love notes scattered on tables and the piles of unfinished knitting projects on coffee tables. These women are special to me. They are helping me to become the woman I want to be. And I have a true “best” friend, a woman I have been friends with for 15 years, ever since we met the first day working at Prudential. She knows me. She gets me. She makes me laugh. Distance, children, family hardships and job changes have not affected our friendship. Our husbands are friends. Our children were when we lived close and although they do not have the opportunity to see each other often enough, they still remember the times they did.
Yesterday I was able to have the very rare chance to spend time with many of my friends: my new friends in the morning, and my very best friend last night.
My mother always told me it is not the number of friends you have, it is the quality of your friendships. I grew up living this. I love this time in my life. I feel the most blessed, the most fulfilled, the most content that I have ever been. I may not have the most friends.....but the ones I have, I plan on keeping for a very long time!