I don’t know how many times I’ve read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Fifty times? A hundred? As dysfunctional and messed up as those women in the story were, I have always read with envy, about the lifelong friendship between Vivi, Teensy, Necie, and Caro. They share an intimacy that can only be found between people with a long history. I mean, they even have nicknames for one another.
I don’t have any friends like that. Sure, I have lots of wonderful friends, but none that I can claim a lifelong bond, filled with childhood stories, teenage angst, first phone calls to announce new babies. And I wish someone had given me a nickname, silly as that sounds.
We moved from one state to another when I was a child, and this trend continued as an adult. (Five moves in nine years, but who’s counting! Certainly not me!) I never really had the chance to create history with friends and I’ve found it so hard to maintain close relationships with those that live hours away in other states.
Thanks to Facebook, I still keep in touch with many of those friends I’ve made along the way. There’s always a burst of excitement and an exchange of chatty messages when you first reconnect, but then once you’ve exchanged years of marriage, number of kids, current city, and work situation, these friends just become another part of my newsfeed.
With my current set of friends, most of our interactions are through social media and text messages. We get together when we can, time carved between one son’s soccer practice and another’s husband’s work schedule. I don’t think I’ve ever been the one to initiate one of these get togethers, usually I just come along for the ride. My friends are basically my social secretaries, setting up our adult playdates.
I’m not the best at reciprocating. I function under the assumption that my friends are telepathic and magically know how often I think about them-usually hours too late. I’m always forgetting birthdays, mammograms, and grandma’s surgery. I text when I should pick up the phone and call.
I’m much better at the face to face friendship, when my girlfriends are sitting right there in front of me. Need someone to listen or laugh at the ridiculous morning you just spent wrestling your two year old into her car seat? I’m totally your girl. Need someone to remember to call you and encourage you? I WISH I was that girl. It’s those behind the scenes friendship duties where I fail too often.
Life gets in the way. Responsibilities of motherhood and marriage, work commitments, and laundry get in the way of me making a real effort to be the kind of friend that I wish I was. All those things? They are petty excuses. It’s no wonder that I crave a deeper intimacy with my friends. I know I need to do better and nurture these friendships for them to grow and prosper.
I made that resolution this year-well, I made the same resolution the year before, too, if I’m being totally honest-to call and initiate more with my friends. There’s a million and one things I could do to be the kind of friend I want to be. Thoughtful gifts and cards, phone calls, lunch dates…I just have to DO those things.
Maybe one day I’ll end up with a cool nickname after all.
All this talk about friendship is brought to you courtesy of Hallmark for their Life is a Special Occasion campaign. While Hallmark is compensating me for participation in this campaign, all opinions expressed are my own. They sent me the Blooming Expressions vase that I gave to a a very good friend of mine-who I actually called and invited to lunch. I KNOW!
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