“We need to get together . . . “
Have you said these words? Likely. Likely you say them in a text once a week. Or on a phone call. Or in the grocery store as you pass through the produce. And you’re not saying them flippantly. Like, these are people who you honestly want to get together with. You want to shoot the bull. Talk over coffee. Catch up on your lives. Talk about motherhood. Or your career. Or how you so wish that boot cut jeans would just come back so Target would start carrying them.
When we were first married, we lived in Austin, Texas. And when I lived in Austin, I desperately missed my girlfriends who were still living in Nebraska. I also missed my family. And then. Then we moved back to Nebraska and guess what? I missed my friends in Austin. We tried to make it back once a year. And then, a baby. We had one.
We even named one of our Texas crew as the godfather of the Oldest. We knew we forever wanted him and his wife to be a part of us. But that didn’t mean we’d ever get to see them.
We have family across the U.S. We have friends in California. And on the East Coast. In Phoenix. Up north. Down south. And in Florida. Heck, we even have family and friends in Europe we want to see. And all of those people—they don’t even include the friends who live 40 minutes away but are either in completely different stages of life or worse, in the same as us. So getting together with friends and keeping the people you want to keep close is harder and harder.
Sure, you can FaceTime. That’s a gift for sure. And you can absolutely send emails, letters, and texts with exploding hearts and funny gifts. But in-person time . . . that’s just a special kind of gemstone.
And so it’s starting to make sense to me now. You see, my parents had friends when we were younger. And then we got into activities and school stuff and all the things life with three kids brings. There was work. There was church. And there were the things you do because your kids want to do them. And soon, it felt like we rarely saw some of their closest people. But they still sent these people Christmas cards every year. And I didn’t get it.
But I do now.
Because that was their way of saying, “You are still a part of us. We will see you later.”
And now, I see them reconnecting with people who they had to put on hold for a bit. Just as those people did for them. And it’s not because they weren’t important to them at any point in that era. It was just because they knew that they were good enough friends, they had a good enough foundation to say, “We’ll talk when we can. We’ll soak up the times we get together. And we’ll see each other again in 20 years.”
Some people might say that it’s dumb to keep friendships that you can’t devote time and effort to every year but I believe it is the friendships that are lowest maintenance that are legit and for real. And the ones worth keeping.
To my friends who I don’t always get to spend the time I want with—even some of my very best and closest—we will do what we can for now and that will be enough. And otherwise, I look forward to really getting to know you again. In 20 years.
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