Some of you truly know me. Some of you are only just beginning to know me. Some of you think you know me, and kind of do, but have a lot more to learn about me if you care to.
And then, there are the friends that have long gone.
Back in 2006 my husband and I relocated to North Carolina from New York City. Brooklyn, to be precise. In doing so I left my family and my friends behind.
And so you ask ...
Was it difficult? Absolutely. Was it scary? Hell yeah! Am I happy? Sure I am. Do I miss home? Yes, I certainly do. Have things changed over the past [almost] four years? Yes. They have. For the better? For the most part.
I've struggled being in NC without my family. Family is irreplaceable. You can't find yourself a new brother. A new and incredible sister-in-law. My parents come to visit, but it's not the same as being able to have dinner with them whenever I want to. And my friends, well, they're a story in and of themselves.
Many friends have stayed strong. My closest friends from college were those I rarely saw anyway, and we take our connections and history very seriously. We wouldn't give that up for anything. Whether I do or don't make it to the annual girls' weekend (Vegas 2010, baby!) they're there for me. To listen, to vent to, whether it's by e-mail or by phone. They know that when I come "home" to NY it's not always possible to see them in person. I'd love to say it was simple, but it's not, and they get that. I realized that more than ever this past summer when I spent the weekend with them all in Connecticut. I never flinched, and I hadn't seen some of these girls in over FOUR YEARS!
My old skool work friends, who have been some of the best friends a girl could have, they're there for me. Usually it's via e-mail (maybe because two of them are guys?) with an occasional phone call thrown in. One friend and his wife have had their 3rd child since I last saw them. He doesn't hate me for being crammed into too many things when I'm in town. He knows I love and care about him and his family, and we don't take our friendship for granted.
And then, then there are the friends I have known for what felt like forever. The ones I wrote "BFF" at the end of each card or letter. The ones I have been like family to and with. These friends, these are the ones that have fallen by the wayside. How? How is that even possible? You can ask, and sadly, I cannot answer.
There were three. Now there is one. She is my lifeline to the old world. We don't talk about the other two. I just miss and ache for her, and her newborn baby boy whom I have yet to meet. She was my college roommate, and if we could survive that for FOUR WHOLE YEARS, well, we can make it through any and everything. And we are. And we will continue to.
But the others, how did it happen?
Sadly, life brought many challenges. And when two people put themselves on a pedestal and you cannot keep them up there things get difficult. You can't maintain the friendships when you're not in plain sight. You can't profess how important they are to you - by handwritten letter - no less - and receive nothing but complaints and anger in return. And that sears through you to the point that the tears come. The pain rips through you and you become willing to throw away so many years of friendship. You say to yourself, how is it that she does not know me? We've been friends forever. How can she think that she is not important? Is it because when I came home I spent so much time with my mom? My MOM? Who, mind you, had cancer at the time? Is it possible that two people who have been in the BFF position can truly put themselves over my mother, my father, my brother and his family? Would they do that for me? I think not.
So, it ended. And the doors have closed. Although, as life takes it's toll on us all, one door creaks open slowly. My aunt passed away, and one friend called me. Her father became ill, and we connected again. And now, now we just contact one another through e-mails on and off. And it won't be the same, because it can never be the same. And it hurts, and I ache sometimes, but then, I think to myself, I have to close those doors, because if these are people who can treat me that way when I am the one experiencing the changes, I am the one who moved 500 miles away, I am the one working to maintain a relationship, then was that truly a friendship at all?
I think not.
And so, I move forward. Making friends who understand me, accept me, and give me no ultimatums. Friends I can consider true friends. And though there is no history there, when our daughters turn into teenagers, or grown women, we will look back and turn to one another and remember when. And in the meantime, I'll always have my memories.
**This has been a post in response to a prompt over at Mama Kat's.**