Posted by: ME | February 17, 2012

Friendship Through the Years

Have you ever been “defriended”?

I am not talking just on Facebook. That’s nothing. I mean, it could be something, I guess, but to me, it is people scaling back their lives and for that I do not blame them. I have done that myself and it is refreshing to scale back on unnecessary connections that have no real value. I also have ‘de-liked” many pages in which I went on for a coupon and nothing more. It truly can feel as good as weeding out your house or a good garage sale.

I have been defriended- for the first time in my 42 years. In an email. Could it be like getting a “Dear John” letter? Maybe for some. This person was not close to me nor did I want to pursue a friendship in that direction, but our kids were friends, and so I felt we would continue our minute level of friendship for them. Apparently not.

At first I thought she meant our friendship couldn’t continue, weird enough in itself to feel the need to WRITE THIS IN AN EMAIL to someone, when it seemed the natural progression anyway, in a nice , cordial, unsaid way. Our daughters were friends so I did NOT expect her to have our kids separate their friendship. How sad! Yet, she did. In some ways it was relief and in some ways it upset me that she made her child somehow believe that she could not be friends with my daughter. She had just recently invited my daughter to her daughter’s birthday party-which was cancelled- and even accepted the gift hours before the defriending.

Ok, so all that weirdness aside, I wanted to address the idea of friendship in our mid-life years. Yes, I can say it- I am in my midlife years. I cannot express how much I have learned, good and bad, about friendships made in the past 2 years and those I have had for a lifetime, and those that I felt I couldn’t live without. Those bonds that feel like God put that person there to be a “sister” unrelated to you.

I came out of my elementary years with 3 close friends and a cousin, who has become my friend. She was always more like a sister anyway. We fought like sisters, that is for sure. Today, I still claim those friendships the ones that you can pick up wherever you left off, like no time has passed. I can pick up the phone and talk to them for hours like we were hiding in our closets talking Duran Duran or boys or makeup and hairstyles like yesterday. Of course, today we talk kids, husbands,God, houses, jobs, sex, and whatever else comes to our minds. We giggle like children. We share our disappointments and things we take pride in. You can tell your childhood friends this in confidence because it’s things they know you wanted way back when you were 12.

My high school years sucked, friend-wise. I came out of high school with one good friend, plus the childhood ones. Another GREAT friend I met in my high school years was my husband. I had a hard time in high school making friends.  I went from a 60 kid graduating elementary school class to a 300 all girl Catholic freshman class. Two of my elementary friends went there too, but the school tried to broaden our horizons by separating us all into different classes. I am going to be honest here and say that I fared the worst, in my eyes, in high school in general. I hated being separated from my friends and I hardly saw them even at lunches. They seemed to thrive well and made friends more easily, in my eyes. They were more involved in school activities and I just wanted to go home. I am very happy for them that they excelled at that high school, were on dance teams and such, and had a great high school life. I do not blame them for a thing- we just were growing up and wanted different things. We were becoming our own I guess. I am very proud of who they have become in their adult lives. My one close high school friend was someone I had some things in common with and she was a great friend for me. She was very motivated academically and in being her friend, she motivated me too and helped me out so much in Chemistry! We both met our to-be husbands in high school and doubled for many dances and dates. We had so much fun together. We still keep in touch but it is much more rare than even my elementary school friends.

After a couple years of college classes, I went into the echocardiography field and our class was made up of 9 people, from all over south Louisiana, and even one from west Texas. Only 2 of us lived nearby enough to carpool the hour commute to school, and he and I went on to develop a friendship. We even worked our first real job together. He still works for that hospital in New Orleans and has made a wonderful career for himself. He has come to visit us when we lived in Plano, Texas and I know I could pick up the phone and connect with him and it would be great. He is the one I blame for hooking my husband onto NASCAR. They even made a road trip to Talladega(sp?) together!

Many of our(me and my husband’s) mutual friends and those we hung out with mostly in our teens and young twenties, we still keep in touch with on Facebook, but that is about it. Many of them are my husband’s childhood friend – the ones you can talk to like you haven’t  NOT connected in a half decade. He has one friend, whom I actually wasn’t crazy over in our high school years, that has grown to be the one person that I think Paul could depend on more than any other of all of his friends. Paul has gotten together with him now and then over the years and even recently. I completely am happy about this for him. I am happy that the one I thought would be the least likely to keep in touch is the one who has amazed me the most. He is a great guy.

Most of Paul’s good friend are all wrapped up in family- as in our brothers and some work friends from his restaurant days.

As far as work friends, for some reason that is all they had been- work friends. I loved some of them a lot and we did spend time now and then outside of work, but in my personal work life, especially in my PRN years, work friends were at work. I have kept in touch with two of them. One from my Dallas years and one from my Covington years. I am acquaintances with the others and know I could call a few of them for job related possibilities, but that is it. I am not even connected with them on Facebook- except the former Dallas friend. It would be so cool to see her again. I always have admired her strength. She is now in Ohio. I also cannot fail to mention the AWESOME people I worked with in the cardiology office behind Elmwood Fitness Center, who supported me unfailingly through having my second child AND the complete love and support they showed me during Ash’s cancer journey. That was a fun job and we connected well. My first favorite echo job. God puts in places and around people  whom we need or need us. They really fulfilled that for me. I lvoe them for it.

When we lived in Dallas, we made a few friends that we spent time with, but mostly we spent time with the one family member and his family that I had there. I cannot express the support they and others I did not even know, gave us when we first moved there. One person that showed me God’s love was my to-be boss. This woman was amazing. I had a bad miscarriage about a month after moving there and she had interviewed me and offered me a position. I couldn’t take it due to my miscarriage and an unexpected surgery- but she waited for me and even visited me in the hospital. That would up being my sencond favorite echo job. Fun, full-time, and before I had children.

The friends I made when we lived in Covington for 11 years wound up unexpectedly being the deepest friendships ever. I didn’t plan for that or think our roots were that deep. The close friends I made at church and through my homeschool group wound up being true friendships. There are a few I talk to about once a month and email/text a lot more than that. I have gained a sister in Christ and some friends that I value highly. I know of 4 definitive ones that will not be lost- those will probably be like my childhood friendships where I can talk to them like no time has passed. The only sad thing is this- we are old enough and that much wiser  and we have growing kids to show that THAT much time has passed! One thing I miss most are those things which brought us together- our heritage, our festivals, Mardi Gras, church, homeschool events, small family cooperatives, planning Disney vacations, bible studies, and our kids activities.

Here in Florida, in my short two years, it has been mixed. I sincerely had no idea what to expect. I have met some of the most wonderful women, a few who I met on about day 3 here in Florida, and they are still friends. There are others, like the one I talked about in the beginning, that I won’t connect with again. This is sorta new for me. I know, 42 and still muddling through friend things. I have often thought that these midlife years feel kinda like high school again. How sad. I hated high school. I was pulled from friends and made to make new ones. Hmm, more like high school that I actually thought! Kinda funny, in a way. I feel a couple of my friendships here are going to a new level- in a good way. I love people I can be myself with and not worry about offending  cuz they get me. They just know. I guess that does take time though! Another thing like high school and friendships is that no one lives really close to each other. There are a few of us in the same area, but overall, our group is pretty spread out. Seriously? That IS like my high school! The one close friend I came out with in high school lived about 45 minutes away from me. All of my grammar school friends lived in the same small town-  5-10 minutes away and that is how it was in Covington!

Ok, weirdness aside, I am expecting a lot more out of my mid-life years than my high school years. Maybe this means Paul and I will date all over again! Maybe! Our kids are getting old enough for US to go on a date now and then. Hmmmm……….

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