PREVIOUSLY POSTED AUG. 2008
I mentioned in a previous post that I recently hooked up with a very dear, almost life-long friend. My friend and I met as freshmen in high school. We took classes together, partied together, traveled together and even lived together (rather peacefully, in fact) in an apartment until I lost my job and had to relocate to South Carolina for a new job. My friend visited me in South Carolina, was in my wedding and visited me in the hospital when I had my first baby. When my husband worked nights and weekends while my first-born was young, she kept me company and provided much-needed “adult” conversation.
Then my husband’s schedule changed and he was home at night and on the weekends. I had another baby. then dance lessons, soccer practice, life as a wife and mom took over. Meanwhile, my friend advanced in her career and started traveling the globe on incentive trips. She even invited me to go on one with her — all expenses paid for a week in Scotland. I really wanted to go, but my “babies” were 6 and 3, and I couldn’t bear to leave them for that long.
We made the effort to get together several times a year, then once or twice a year. Eventually, we got to the point where we’d only see each other once a year. We’d lament this fact every time we’d hook up because we always had so much fun. We laugh about old memories and how no matter how much time passes, we’re still basically the same people. We were both raised by cops, thus we’re both terrible cynics. (really, NOTHING good happens after midnight!) We agree on things like crime and punishment. We both love strappy sandals, but think you MUST have painted toenails to wear strappy sandals. You know — all the important stuff.
I used to get upset that we didn’t see each other more often, and my friend would console me by saying that her mom told her this would happen. She said that friends “drift” some during the childbearing/childrearing years, particularly if they don’t both go through those years at the same time. Her mom said that you get so busy during those years that the only friends you have time for are the ones who have kids the same ages as yours and/or kids who are involved in the same activities. But, her mom concluded (all of this from experience) that once you get those kids raised, you gravitate back to those “old” friends because “they knew you when” — and there is simply no replacement for that intimate knowledge.
As my friend and I sat at the water park and watched my baby play, I came to the conclusion that her mom’s predictions will prove to be true. In the meantime, we’ll cherish these few get-togethers and do what we always do. We laughed at some of the antics of our youth, and my friend promised to pray that my own children don’t try half the stuff we tried. We laughed even harder at the minor (and sometimes not so minor) dysfunctions in our families of origin. We talked about whether she might ever get married, and if not, will she try to have a baby without a husband. She shared her exciting stories of global travel with me, and I shared stories of being a mom to a teenager, a pre-teen and baby all at once. And we talked about those years in the future when we can get together more often, maybe even travel together again.
I’m very thankful that we make the effort to stay in touch, even if our encounters are few and far between. I know I’ll be glad when I’m old and she and I are attending Red Hat Ladies luncheons, or we’re sunning our wrinkled old bodies on a beach somewhere.
UPDATE May 9, 2015
Awesome morning exercising with one of my bestie’s since high school, Jan Wadsack . But the BEST part? The trip down memory lane! As we were leaving, she was following me because we were trying to find a place to have coffee near Creve Coeur Park. And this was in the rearview mirror because of Jan’s expired plates, of which she was unaware. It has been AGES — like 30 years — since these two daughters of police officers were pulled over together. Being that our dads, and Jan’s uncle, all wore the badge, we could not go ANYWHERE without some police officer keeping an eye on us. One officer in particular pulled us over regularly just to harass us. I wish I had thought to ask the officer today to pose with us for a photo with his lights a-blazing. Another bonus — he didn’t give Jan a ticket!