Friends kick ass, that's all there is to it. I've been in the Springs for 4.5 years and it's taken a while to make some friends. I, of course, had acquaintances right away. It's only been within the past 6-12 months though that I've made the type of friends that make the world go around. You know... the ones you tell about your embarrassing problems (and we all know I'm open about poo and such), you can share with when you're vulnerable, and those that you call and say "Can we come over even if the toddler's screaming?" and they oblige.
Several months ago I was on the phone with one of my dear friends, who lives away and I was explaining how hard it is to have been here for YEARS and not have a real friend yet. She made a really great point that helped me feel less inadequate, but it didn't take away my feeling of isolation or desire for a sisterfriend. But, what she said put into perspective the fact that I'm a Mom and a wife. I don't have the time to invest as quickly into friendship. It made sense, but I hadn't thought of it that way before. I guess I figured since I knew other Moms and none of us got to the point of comfort yet that we just weren't clicking or that I was lacking a friend-gene. However, when she said that I realized the difference. When you live in the same area you grew up, you have friends who you bonded with in your younger years. The days when blossoming friendships were put into high gear thanks to excessive hormones, self-exploration, parties, television shows, and enjoying an empty house while parents were working and we were given some independence but wanted someone to be independent WITH us. :-)
I was explaining to Zane, last week, that bad things have to happen in life. I was telling him that without bad things, we wouldn't really be able to appreciate the goodness and that the different types of badness we experience and the different ways which we react to the badness ultimately build who we are and what type of lives we carry. That every time a bad thing happens we get another choice to experience that badness with faith and sorrow or with bitterness and anger.
A few months ago, some bad stuff happened to a friend of mine. This particular friend is someone I like a LOT! She's vibrant and excited and SO.FULL.OF.ENERGY. She's brilliant and thought-provoking, she's inspiring, and she's WILD! LOVE her! But, again...I'd been missing that piece of whatever that leads to two people calling one another and making an individual plan. I hadn't gotten to the point yet of being able to call her just to chat. But, then... the bad something happened to her. And she called me. That was GREAT! It's nice to know when people find comfort in you or they feel safe-for whatever reason. She opened up a new level for me to feel comfortable with her. Lucky me! Oh, and all the bad stuff? She's dealing with it quite beautifully and it will be an ongoing affair for her. I have no doubt she will absolutely flourish from this.
Last month, bad stuff happened to my family. It sucked and was terrible and we felt alone and vulnerable and scared and hurt and -insert tough emotion here-. When a semi-friend offered to help us out by making us a meal I was floored. I didn't want to add anything on to her life, but it was really nice of her to offer. She also offered to take care of Stori if we needed while we tended to our matters. It was hard and scary, but I accepted both offers. I had a yummy meal in my fridge and a wonderful caregiver to help care for Stori. I had been in the same stale-mate position with this friend prior to my bad stuff happening. Every time I'd seen her I was so into her lifestyle, her way of being so demure, her inner-child that she let me see sometimes, and her laugh. OMG, her laugh. Greatness! She's warm, loving, nurturing, and thoughtful. But, I didn't know how to make the next step. She helped me and after I accepted I've felt much more comfortable with our friendship growing. She's a really great person and the one I called yesterday to invite myself, my tantrum-ing toddler, and my bored 7 year old to her house. Spending time there yesterday was just what the doctor ordered and I let her know before I left. "You know how I feel? I feel like I CAN make it through the rest of this day! Thank you." <3 Greatness!
THEN..... last night, another semi-friend came over. This one's a gem, too. She's quiet and private. She loves her kids like nothing else and she endured her husband's military deployment with grace. She kind of keeps to herself, but she sure likes to be around others. She's mysterious, but I know that whatever she's hiding is good stuff. She's been going through a terrible month with her oldest daughter being very sick. Again, she's being so graceful about it. I don't know what her inner dialogue is, but I'm certain she's got some big feelings in there that she's not getting out. She came over last night and there was much crocheting being done, some chocolate ice cream eating, some infant-breast-epic-battles happening, and lots of heart opening. She cried, she laughed, I cussed, she taught, I served, I watched, she smiled, we sat. She shared some personal things with me and I shared some similar ones with her and I listened to others. It was grand. Last night was the most I've ever heard her talk and I look forward to more nights like that. I keep praying for her and her family. They're going through so much. Jump over to the blog and see what she has to say.
My husband will always be my number one, best friend in the whole wide world. He's inspired me to heal myself, to know myself, to accept myself. He's loved me no matter what I've done, where I've been, where I've come from, or what I've experienced. He holds my hand through middle-of-the-night anxiety attacks and holds my hand on ice-skating dates. He thinks I'm pretty and he thinks I'm wonderful. I think all the same about him. Well...he's not pretty, but he sure is sexy-hotness! I can share all things with him and I'm incredibly grateful to have be been blessed in such a way to have him as a partner. Anyone who knew us through our courtship, engagement, and early marriage knows good and well we worked for this. We both got vulnerable with each other, we both got honest with each other, we've spent time with marital counseling, and we just, plain old decided to be happily married. We try to be considerate of one another and we've learned each other's love languages. I think our marriage has taught me a lot about friendship in any context.
It's true that we may no longer bond over googly-eyes at our favorite television heartthrobs, and so, it will be more of a long-term investment to make solid friends as a family-woman. I couldn't be happier about the people I've grown to love here. They're all people who do live beyond the surface, which explains why it takes a while. We can't just go around talking to anyone about the way we think, or the fears we have. But, at some point...when we've decided that what we really want is to bond with someone, sure enough the energies will find themselves. I'm feeling very blessed after the past month of struggle. It's been one of the hardest months of child-rearing I've experienced yet and I don't know if this will get easier sooner or later, but it's so nice to know that at this point, God has provided me with the support I need to endure it all.
If you have a dear friend...new or old... call them today and tell them they rock. Or write a big, fancy, blog-post, love-letter to them and say thanks. For not only being my friend, but allowing me to be your friend as well. It's a true privilege!