Months ago, my Mom handed the contents of my old jewelry box to me. As I looked through my collection, I was amused at my former treasures. Nestled among the pieces was the coppery half jagged circle of a “Best Friends Forever” necklace that I had exchanged with my 7th grade bff. Although that was almost 30 years ago, we have managed to occasionally keep in touch. Obviously both of us would readily admit that it isn’t quite the same. For one thing, several states separate us. Plus I am not sure that either of our husbands would be thrilled to watch all of our kids, so that we could have almost weekly sleepovers involving multiple movies and all of the junk food that you can manage to eat when you are 13 years old. Yet even if our contact is less frequent, we will always have a connection from that time long ago.
Another one of my friends from high school I manage to see a bit more since we do still live in the same area. That girl has been there for me through all sorts of moments in my life – through the lonely times like when I thought I would stay single forever to the happy day of my wedding. She was the one that I called when my newborn cried for hours on end then actually ended up being his first official babysitter as she insisted that I just needed to get out of the house to survive. Too many moments to even remember. Even though this is true, calling her my best friend from high school just does not say enough. Yet since we are both busy with children and businesses, putting her still in the category of bff may not really express the state of our friendship either. All I know is that she will always, always have a special place in my heart.
Recently my eight year old daughter has started expressing to me her feelings about different friends. “Mom, she is my bff, so is she but that girl might not be.” Trying to navigate through buddy world is an important part of growing up. I tried to encourage her to not necessarily try to categorize her friends, but instead to enjoy spending time with them. I think that is a hard lesson for all of us.
In this world of Facebook, sometimes I can think that I need to maintain a particular level of friendship with my several hundred “friends.” How could that ever be realistic? Sometimes seeing pictures and reading stories can give an illusion of closeness even though that connection is really not there. What really matters is the time that we personally spend reaching out directly to people and not updating our status for the masses to read.
Another hard lesson that I am learning is that some friends are just put in my life for a season. A time when we are both facing similar issues or when our kids are in the same events – so important to have friends in similar stages. Letting go of those who have made an impact in my life is hard. Yet I am trying to learn that there will not be enough of me to go around for anyone if I spread myself too thin. Although these former connectors are lovely ladies, sometimes time simply runs out. Maintaining several relationships for the long haul is possible – keeping up too many multiple friendships is impossible. Hopefully I can learn how to be the best type of friend – one who is deliberate and intentional with those friendships that should continue.