I come from a small town where everyone knows your name, or your parents or your grandparents. Your cousins likely live a street over and you could easily identify all of your classmates in a line up by at least their first name. Your friends are like family. We call each other’s parents mom and dad. You don’t knock when entering their homes and you probably have your own toothbrush located in the bathroom caddy.
This is how close of a relationship I had with my friends.
After high school we all kind of drifted, mainly because of college locations and figuring out the lives we wanted to have. Then after college, we all ended up right back where we started. Home. We were once again a united front with a couple of babies in tow. We all (for the most part) were single and still getting our lives on track. One by one we met someone and things shifted again. The group seemed split down the middle, the moms vs the non-moms, and that caused some animosity along the way. However, at the end of the day the relationships were still there, no matter how severed it seemed.
Then one day, one member, in particular, went “dark”. To the others, the change was drastic despite the fading relationship between them already. However, for me, it was gradual and felt like a slap in the face when it the realization finally came to me. Suddenly a friendship I’d had for years, had regular play dates with our girls, and date nights with our significant others seemed to be slipping through my fingers like sand. Our daily texts dwindled to nothing. When seeing each other in person (which was often) it felt awkward and like I was treading on ground I was no longer welcome on. I felt abandoned. How did we go from telling each other everything to barely even saying hello to each other?
Even now it’s barely a friendship. We say we’ll “hang out” in passing, promising it will happen when we both probably know it won’t. We “like” each other’s post in social media, commenting here and there along the way. But it’s not the same. And I don’t when or if it will ever get back to what was once normal.
Life is funny like that. Friendships are like cycles. Sometimes it’s on fire and other times they are icy cold. So despite that dwindling friendship another that has seen its fair share of ups and downs is still a constant in my life. The friend I’ve held onto the longest, the one I can be so aggravated with one day but can completely forget about the situation the next. That one of the other two still remains as a constant in my life.
As a kid, you think “these are the friends I’ll have forever and ever.” This thinking sometimes works out. Sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it’s a roller coaster ride. As an adult, especially after having kids, every relationship you have becomes an experiment. Who will stay? Who will go? Who will try and fail? Who will transition with you gracefully? It’s all a luck of the draw or survival of the fittest. You just never know what the outcome will be, no matter how well you know these people. Despite all these factors and being a grown and rational person, feelings still get hurt, and it’s hard. We’ve all been there, and I’m sure it’s something we’ll all have to deal with as life goes on.