Friends

I hate to admit this, but it's been awhile, so I'm going to...
Growing up, I had two imaginary friends.
I don't know how everyone elses imaginary friends start, because the name imaginary sort of implies you built them from scratch in your own mind. But mine began with a tragic story. Queue flashback...
I am the youngest of 4 kids, the only girl, with the closest sibling still being 5 years older than me. It was a lonely life. I remember begging my mom to play dollhouse with me, and whenever she was too busy, I'd run to my room yelling, "You're going to regret this one day when I grow up!" And you know what? She did.

One day I had been dragged along to one of my brothers Junior Jazz basketball games. As if sports weren't boring enough, I was supposed to sit on those bleachers and patiently watch ten year old boys chase a ball around. No thanks. If my 23 year old self can't handle that, you best bet my 5 year old self wasn't all over it.
Then, like angels appearing from heaven itself, I saw them: two little girls, about my age, playing just a few rows above us in the bleachers. And they were having so much fun together. Oh, what joy it must have been to have a sister! I made my decision then and there: I WAS going to be friends with those girls.
Unfortunately, I was a pretty shy little girl (when I wasn't threatening my mom for her neglect) so I knew I couldn't just go up there by myself. The obvious answer was to be escorted by my mom. Sadly, she wasn't having it.
"Please go with me so I can play with those girls!"
"No."
"You can play with their mom!"
"No." (Because SHE had sisters. SHE didn't need any more friends.)
"Please! I'll eat tacos and not even cry!"
"No you won't. Sit down and watch the game." Game? Was this supposed to be entertaining?
I'd like to say I summoned all my 5 year old courage, walked up to those girls, and we became lifelong friends. But sadly, that is not the case. Instead, I spent the rest of the game whining in my mother's ear to no avail.
However, there is an upside to the story, (sorta?) because those two girls became my new imaginary friends. The younger one, the brunette with the short pigtails, was named Noel, because that is what all my dolls were named and I'm pretty sure I didn't know any other names. Her big sister, with the long blond pigtails (I think I only knew one hairstyle too) was, obviously, named Biggie.
Biggie and Noel went everywhere with me. When my mom didn't want to play dollhouse with me, no problem! I no longer felt the need to guilt trip her, because I had two best friends to play with me! They were fun, they always wanted to do what I wanted to do, and they went home the second I was tired of them. It was a dream.
Finally, I grew up and got more friends. My cousin Allie moved closer, and she didn't have a sister either so we'd pretend to be each others sisters while we made perfume out of rose petals (doesn't work, by the way) and gave each other gel pen tattoos. I started school and made even more friends, and even though they weren't perfect, we had a lot of fun times together.

Now, flash forward a few years, and I meet my husband Caleb. Caleb has a lot of good friends, but he has 3 best friends in particular, and they have been friends since Elementary School. They are what everyone wants but what, for some reason, boys only ever seem to find.

What is with us girls? Why can't we form lifelong friendships too? Is it just me? Did Biggie and Noel give me unrealistic expectations for my friendships?
Throughout school, it seemed like most of my friendships changed on a yearly basis, depending on who was in my class and who liked the same things I liked.
But the worst part was I never seemed to deal with it very well.
I was always the friend who tried desperately to keep in touch with all my old friends. I'd send them a text with a little inside joke to remind them of the good old days. I'd do everything I could to stay friends with them, and then I'd get frustrated when the courtesy wasn't returned. I always stuck dutifully to the mantra Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other Gold.
Isn't that beautiful? Sniff, sniff.

There's a flaw with that mantra, and it's this: we are human. We are imperfect, and we change. Sometimes, more often than not, we grow in separate directions. And when that happens, it's ok to let go. It's ok to drop that small thread of friendship you've been clinging to for reasons you forgot years ago. It doesn't mean you have to ignore each other if you ever happen to bump into each other, it just means you don't have to force something that isn't there anymore.

I finally realized I was really getting myself down about friendships that had deteriorated over the years, so much so that I wasn't appreciating the wonderful friendships I have in my life today. Friendships with people who I have things in common with, people who I can see all the time and who make an effort to keep up our friendship on their end too.
We can't all have friendships like Caleb did, although if I'm honest, I do have friends I've had since Elementary school that I hope I'll always be in touch with, even if we go years in between seeing each other. The important thing is that you're honest with yourself about what you want, and what you deserve in your friendships. If I had never let go of Biggie and Noel, I would be the weirdo walking around talking to her two invisible friends, still bitter about not having a sister.
Ok, I'm still a little bitter about the sister thing. 
But the friends? I can safely say where I stand today... I've won the jackpot.


1 comment:

  1. Very Sweet...we are more alike than I realized. ;-)

    ReplyDelete