Friendship is something I cherish. In fact, for years, friends were the family I created for myself.
I was not raised by my parents for most of my life. That’s just the way it was. Mom wasn’t there at all and Dad came in and out as he could handle the responsibility – which wasn’t often. So, my Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles worked together to raise my brother and I. As a result of this combined effort in raising, I was blessed more than many kids in my situation. But I still had pieces of me missing and I believe that my friendships became the way I filled those empty spaces in my heart. I found sisters, brothers and mothers through my friendships.
They were my saving grace.
I put on a beautiful white dress, walked down the aisle of my childhood church to my future and took the ultimate step to create my very own family.
Fast forward nearly nine years, and we live in a pretty little house with our three adorable daughters and “for better or for worse” we’ve made it through five military moves.
We are a family.
So what happened to the family I created for myself? What happened to those friendships that carried me through those heavier parts of life?
What I’ve realized now that I’m a so-called “grown-up” is that friendships evolve as we do. Some of them grow with us, and others move away from us. There are those that we talk to regularly and plan trips with and those that we see as much as possible when we get back to the hometown dive bar for a beer. We have those that we cheer on in life via marathon text messaging sessions and those we have once a month phone dates with.
Neither is less important than the other. At least not in my eyes.
I’ve realized that friendships ebb and flow. They take breaks. They allow the other person room to breathe all the while leaving the door open for them to walk through as needed.
And like a marriage, we make a conscious choice to stay in the relationship because we realize just how much we love one another and in spite of how we’ve changed, grown, and evolved over the course of many years – we want to always be connected.
Friendship for me isn’t about the quantity of time we have together, it’s the quality time. It’s those epic Rock Band nights to close out Aloha Fridays, South Florida BBQ’s at the sandbar, Vegas trips, Little Black Dress parties, Limo pit stops through Taco Bell, Waikiki Sassafras, Park City shenanigans and West Virginia dive bar nights that I hold on to and recall when I’m missing my Golden Girls, my Peeps – those remarkable people who have made my life complete.
When I have one of those “glass half-empty” , disconnected days, those memories carry me through.
So, things have changed. I spend more time with my stellar husband and awe inspiring kids – because that’s where I belong. Nurturing my family. Breaking that cycle I grew up in to create a legacy of love and a place where family comes first.
My friends are still a part of that family, they still matter, they are still necessary to complete my life.
So, the answer, is
We are forever friends.
There is no time, nor distance that can come between the hearts of true friends.
How have your friendships grown throughout the years? Do you make your friendships a priority and plan getaways, phone dates or skype sessions? What memories carry you through?