Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ode to Friendship....


When was the last time you found a new friend?  Doesn't the concept seem funny?  How does a near 40-year-old find a new friend?  Sure, there are the niceties exchanged at morning drop off at pre-school.  The relationship you have with your hairdresser.  The neighborhood friendly waves and hello's.  All those other mom's that you make small talk with at various kid functions.  All the potential for friendship, sure but some effort on your part is required.  When was the last time you truly connected with another woman?  Connected to the point that you thought, "Hmmmm, she is really cool and I feel like I've known her forever"?

It's almost a giddy feeling.  Like when you met a boy you really liked back in the day.  You think about that person.  You go over the list of things you have in common and wonder when you will see one another again. You think about how funny they are and how the kids just get along so well.  How your lives parallel one another.

What I love about my five and two year old  is the "instant friendships" that occur.  A quick "Hi" and a tour of the playroom and it's ON!  You like Barbie's.  I like Barbie's.   Throw on a fancy dress, tiara and high heels and let's get down to Littlest Pet Shop.  We are now BFF's.  You like a big metal Tonka truck. I like a big metal Tonka truck.  I like to throw things in the house and I'm pretty sure you will too.  

Fast forward through all those bittersweet grade school, two-against-one and next week we will love you again games and the true friendships that really cultivate in high school.  Middle school....well, that was possibly just a jumble of emotions and hormones and crying.  With college came a few long term friends.  I went to college with many of my high school bests so there wasn't an extreme need or desire to expand that safety zone.  But it happened.  I walked away with one pal that I would put on my list of all time greats.

Then comes marriage and the "his friends girlfriends or wives" that are a shoe-in to become friends with you.  Even if you don't really like each other.  You just do it for the greater good.  A night out here or there and it's all good.  But I got lucky here too and found not just one, but TWO ladies that I adore and found an instant connection with.  

Maybe you have been lucky enough to forge some work friendships, but after moving a short distance away and having two children the ability to meet up for a drink or lunch just gets more complicated.  I still continue some lovely relationships with women  through email and Facebook.  If the opportunity presented itself, we would all pick up where we left off.  That's pretty cool and rare.  

I have two best friends from my first job out of college.  It was life-changing for all of us.  We seemed to appear when we each needed one another the most.  It was a cross-road in my friendship history.  I was out of college and on a new journey in a new state.  Meeting good friends made the transition better.  We really "got" each other.  When you feel that, it's just amazing.

I use the term "best friend" broadly.  I define that as "you are more important that just calling you a friend and I am know I can count on you and I want you to feel the same way about me."  That feeling deep down in your gut that knows that this person has your back.

Friendships take precedence when you don't have children.  Girls trips and nights out for drinks and dinner are easy.  But the true friends are worth the effort.  I love the ease of an old friend.  I love the excitement of a new friend.  That "getting to know you" phase.

As a stay at home mom, I didn't realize the importance of cultivating a neighborhood friend.  About a year ago I met Ashley in semi-dark garage of another neighbor's as a garage sale took place.  I felt an instant connection to her.  The common threads between us rose to the surface in a matter of minutes.  We both have five year old daughters who will be in kindergarten at the same school and ride the bus together.  Both our sons are named Evan.  She was young, hip and cool.  She had green or blue nail polish on her toes with daisies.  (I was delighted!)  She had an easy smile and a down to earth quality that I'm sure people are drawn to.  No false pretenses......I could just tell she was the real deal.

We exchanged phone numbers.  And that was pretty much it.  I made no effort but I sure thought about her and her kids and the fact she lived ten doors down from me on the same side of the street.  Every time we passed her house my daughter Lauren would comment on her girls playing in the yard.  She asked me time and again if she could have a play date with them.

Now, please note I am not a shy person.  I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone on the regular.  It makes me feel alive.  Why didn't I just text her or call her or walk over to her house?  I am not sure why I never did.  Luckily she rang my doorbell a week ago and the rest is history.  What I love most about that is she said, "I hope you don't mind we stopped over.  I just needed a friend today."  It seems I've needed a neighborhood friend for five years and just didn't know it.

We've met up at my house and her house and spend an hour and a half together while the kids play and we chat.  It takes the edge off of long winter days stuck in the house.  It makes that time before dad comes home, before making dinner, before bath and bed......it just makes it seem more do-able.  It's a HECK of a lot more fun!

I'm in what I would call that "early stage of dating" and I love it!  If we made a list of the things we have in common, well, it's insane.  The fact this woman and her family moved to my street a year ago makes my life today (and I'm gonna go ahead and say the future!) so much brighter.  New friends make you feel alive again.

So if you get the opportunity, go ring somebodies doorbell and say "I need a friend."  I guarantee the person opening the door will welcome you with open arms!

"It's so much more friendly with two."  ~Winnie the Pooh

3 comments:

  1. Feels like you were in my mind today. I have been running this idea about how friends are made around in my head for about a week now. Just haven't come up with the words to relay the message. Every place we have lived I took away at least one person who will be an important part of my life forever. Glad to have you on that list :) love you

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love ya too Tricia!! Brought a tear to my eye to read your blog. Love that we are friends! And look forward to "dating" some more!! xoxo friend

    ReplyDelete