Old Friends

I grew up hearing “We only seem to get together at weddings and funerals.”  Now I’m at an age where I truly appreciate how weddings, funerals and this last weekend christenings do provide an opportunity to bring people together.

Karina and two of her "old friends"

Karina and two of her “old friends”

The grandparents of one of my daughters best friends from childhood died in a fire Thanksgiving weekend.  They were also neighbors and the kids spent many summers playing in their pool.  The funeral provided many glimpses into they dynamics of “old friends.”

The girls are at an age where they are just starting to move away from the people they’ve grown up with.  They are off at school or starting their careers.   They’re no longer spending the day together and then rushing to text or talk again on the phone as soon as they are apart.  They make a point to check in over holiday weekends, “When are you coming home for winter break?”

Several of their close childhood friends took different roads.  They’ve already lost touch or “stopped speaking” to each other, which often means unfriending on Facebook.  It’s not that the gossip ring isn’t still active.  We still hear that this girl has gotten engaged or that one has a new college boyfriend.

The Mom of one of the girls my daughter is “no longer speaking to” said, “I miss having the girls over.  At my new apartment I have never found rock hard marshmallows under the cushions.”  My daughter said it was really nice to see her friend’s Mom and that she would have been happy to just smile and wave at the friend.  But she also noted that having her friend come over and chat was almost like when they were kids.  “She was nice to me again.  (Probably because her boyfriend wasn’t there.)”

The grandparents who died had lived in the neighborhood over 50 years.  So has my neighbor across the street.  She was very sad.  For her this is the end of an era.  They weren’t necessarily close friends but they lived in a time when everyone knew their neighbors and counted on them.  They have been old friends.  I suppose I am too.  I’ve lived across the street for 20 years. We talk at the mailbox.  Maybe I should stop in and invite her to go for a walk.

Me with the proud parents.

Me with the proud parents.

The christening was for the son of one of the boys I used to babysit for when I was a teen.  I did ‘summer in-home day care’ along with almost every other Friday night.  My sister would sub for me when I was busy.  The Mom was one of my mother’s best friends.  They grew up and I went off to college but would occasionally find an excuse to spend the day together.  Lost track of them when I started having kids and they went away for college.

I’ve kept in touch with the older brother over the years, although it’s definitely a long distance relationship.  I’ve reconnected fairly recently with the younger brother and his wife.  Picking up right where we left off.  Haven’t seen the Mom and her new husband in at least 20 years.

I used to watch this woman's kids.  Now we're old friends.

I used to watch this woman’s kids. Now we’re old friends.

With the new baby my Mom and their Mom had an excuse to reconnect.  A congratulatory phone call was made.  Photos were sent with a letter in the mail.  There’s a lot of water under the bridge, but they’re still old friends.  Me too.  I sat with the family at the christening.  Grandma handing me her camera to take a picture introduced me as an old friend of the family and a newly published author.  We’re old friends.

The boys embrace me into the family as well.  Their partners treat me like the favorite auntie. They all brag on our old friendship and tell me they are  ever so grateful that I could attend.  I’m the one who’s grateful.  I’m lucky to have so many old friends.  I just wish I’d get to see them more often than at weddings and funerals and christenings and reunions.  🙂

I babysat two of these boys, would like to babysit the third.  The fourth is a new friend who I hope will become an old friend.

I babysat two of these boys, would like to babysit the third. The fourth is a new friend who I hope will become an old friend.

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About lisaspiral

I've been writing and speaking about spirituality to small groups for years and am looking to expand my horizons. Hopefully this blog will inspire you to expand yours as well.

Posted on December 3, 2012, in Bio, grattitude and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Relatives are chosen for us by the Universe. Family is whom we chose to bring into the circle. You have been family for ALMOST 40 years!

  2. It was joyful to see you again, and to hug you. And to BE hugged! Lisa, we love having you in our lives.

  3. First, how sad that these folks died in a fire. What an awful way to go. How terrible for everyone involved. But, gosh, I know what you mean about reconnecting/staying in touch, etc. I’ve reconnected with a number of folks from long ago, via Facebook and my blog, in recent months, and I wonder how I ever let myself get out of touch in the first place. Thanks for the reminder.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • It’s so easy to lose touch. Sometimes it takes just a little effort to reconnect. I need those reminders too. Thanks for being such a great blogging buddy! Hugs back!

  4. It was nice reading this and seeing how you managed to reconnect with old friends. In my circle of friends, I was always the one who tried to keep everyone together, even though I’m now the one living furthest away. And I’m sorry to hear about those people who died in the fire – that must’ve been terrible. 😦

    • The fire was a shock but at least they were together. I LOVE people like you who take the initiative to keep in touch. I’m not very good at it and so am truly grateful for the people in my life who are.

  5. It is easy to lose touch. I just saw an old friend yesterday and was reminded how dear such frinedships can be. Bravo.

  6. The death of those grandparents in a fire seems so terrible to contemplate. Come to think of it, the death of anyone we have known and loved seems awful to contemplate. I just changed my address and book and looked at pages and pages of old friends never seen in the last ten years. It feels so often like people come and people go. I guess it would be different living in a community where one grew up. Thank you for this precious post, Lisa.

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