Monday, July 7, 2008

How Many of Us Have Them?

I have never made friends easily. Wait, let me amend that: I have not made friends easily since bonding over booger walls in grade school. What? Don't tell me you didn't have a booger wall as a kid?! Yeah, me neither. Because that would have been gross. The point is that many of my friends have been kicking around my life since I was wee. They knew me before I could read, or before my first kiss. Maybe they got drunk with me for the very first time on cooking sherry or let me cry viscous tendrils of snot on the puffed shoulder of an Esprit sweatshirt because a boy didn't like me. They knew me when I wore a constellation of zit cream to bed at night which is not saying much as that would only date them back to last week before I got a facial and was told I now have combination skin and not the oily slick of "dew" I used to have in my youth circa two weeks ago. Yes, I'm afraid the depletion of the world's oil reserves has impacted my pores. That's when you know it's gotten serious.
This might say something about me, the fact that most of my friends are from high school or even elementary school. It might say that I am a complete social retard incapable of wooing a prospective friend in a grown up world where the walls are all painted Navajo White, nary a booger to be seen. But I prefer to think it says that I am loyal.

Zoey and her big 5 year old friend, the lovely Miss Ruby. You know, Ruby from Daisy Chain?

It's hard to make friends past puberty. To see a strange woman across a crowded Starbucks and admire her jeans, to think to yourself, yeah, she looks cool, I like her style, we could have lunch together, she'd order the Cobb Salad and I'd get the BLT, we'd split each dish while dissecting last night's episode of The Real World and talking much too openly about our men, our kids, our kegels, sure, yeah, BFF's! Because how do you make that happen? Introduce yourself? Ask her if she's a Virgo? Slip her a folded note with your phone number? Would you like to be my friend? Check this box for yes, this box for no. Check this box for grow the fuck up and stop watching reality shows about drunk horny people half your age?
I mean, sure, I've made a few friends post-prom. But it's not easy.
Remember when it was all as simple simon as trading stickers? Giggling at belly buttons? Shrinky Dinks and lemonade stands, braiding each other's hair, your shoelaces heavy with friendship pins?

Zoey and her itty bitty girl friend, the divine Miss Sadie from Ramblin' Rose.

It's just not that easy anymore, either making good girlfriends or keeping them. Now there are jobs and boyfriends, husbands, families. Bills and dirty dishes, a cat that needs an updated rabies vaccination, dry cleaning, doctor's appointments, milk stains on the couch, bathtubs in desperate need of fresh caulk. Don't look now but there is a head of lettuce liquefying in your crisper. There are missed calls and messages never returned, emails with emoticons that don't even begin to convey tone or intent. There are miscommunications and years, decades even, between now and the last time you braided a girlfriend's hair. There is that gap, that second when you sit down to lunch and don't even know where to begin, your life no longer a story to be rehashed over a chinese chicken salad but a list of things to get at the grocery store.

And yet, despite the years, despite the fact that your shoes no longer even have any shoelaces to house a friendship pin or two or twelve, sometimes all it takes is a glass of wine and a plate of grown-up mac and cheese to close that gap. To find the story in your grocery list, to laugh at the silliest of things. To remember that girlfriends, true ones at least, span time and space and age and even squabbles over glittery stars.
This is for my friends. New ones and old, real and blog. I hope that one day Zoey has girlfriends as dear to her as you are all to me.


Tessie said...

Well, count me in if you're looking for new friends. The Blog Friends are feeling pretty real to me lately. Thanks for being one of 'em.

I *Heart* You said...

such a fantastic post. a gal always needs her girlfriends (internet or not) and i am happy to be in any group you see fit.

ps- from these pics i think zoey needs a sister. feel like tacklin' that? :)

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Yay for girlfriends! As always a beautiful post.

Amanda said...

I am a little ver-klempt. Your words so often take my breath away.

I was with my very best friend SGM this past weekend, and we DIDN'T get that chance to catch up over wine and mac-n-cheese. I missed that.

What I want to know is how do you talk about your blog-o-sphere friends to real-live-in-your-space friends without sounding like those strange chat room boyfriends of the good old AOL days?

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Yeah, I ditto Tessie, what about blog friends? I can hold my liquor, keep a secret, support you when need be, and give good sound advice. BTW, I agree, it's hard to make loyal friends these days, ones that have time for you, ones that have the same interest.

When Zoey goes to school, your friend pool will deepen because her friends' mom will be of new interest. Then theres PTO (or PTA, whatever it's called in your neck of the woods)

I too have had a select group of friends for 20+ years, and we've shared so much, accepted so much, that theres no need to explain anything. However, there are changes that occur in this little thing called life we lead that force us to make new friends, and it gets harder and harder with each age group you "graduate" to.
I am a social creature by nature, so everyone assumes that I am never lonely. Au contraire! I'm always looking for kindred spirits.

amber said...

once again, you've left me teary, and not just because we did just share an evening of wine and grown up mac-n-cheese, but because as I get older (ughh) I realize how crazy lucky we are to have known eachother for so long, and to actually still like eachother (milk stained sofa's and all!).
And how could you not mention the older gent that was sitting next to us dressed in head to toe pink polyester that called you lovely and spoke to you in French? Now that's the stuff memories are made of, and I'm so happy we can share that! xo

Ana said...

where have you been? Gwen and I were talking yesterday that you have gone MIA!!!
return those calls sistah!

Thaozle said...

I love the idea of "finding the story in the grocery list".

Jill said...

I can't begin to tell you how much this post hit home today... I'm sitting here and tearing up at it... it's the story of my life.

The movers are here packing up as I type - moving our "stuff" from our interim vacation spot in California to our new home in India. We're spending our last week trying to fit in as many phone calls and visits as possible with friends. Hoping and wishing that the ones we made the effort to see this trip will remember to hit reply on their e-mails, check my blog for daily updates, or send a note snail mail to let me know they're still alive.

Friends are more important to us now than ever... being 9000 miles from everyone makes it more difficult, but them even more special.

jozette said...

I was having the same feelings lately after I caught up with my best friend growing up - I hadn't seen her in a year. I even blogged about it. Amen to friends.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I love this one. So true. I would never be able to make it without my girlfriends. And now, my blog gals as well.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Love this, so sweet and hearfelt. Your girlfriends are very lucky!

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

That was a great post. I often times meet people and tell my husband "I'm going to make her my friend". I just don't know how anymore. The blog world is great because I totally feel like we're friends...and you can re-read things you type before you send them and sound like a total dork. Which happens more often than I'd like.

And those pics of Zoey are delicious!!

Sarah said...

I completely agree with you. After high school and college I have found it increasingly harder to make friends. Most of my close girlfriends moved 2+ hours away and I don't even know where to start making new ones.

ps- I totally had a booger wall.

scarletvirago said...

I'd comment, but I have to go call my girl friends. Both of them.

kelly said...

thank you for this post! i was nearly in tears as i read it. i remember those friendship bracelets, and braiding eachother's hair. this post couldn't have come at a better time.

i also haven't made "new" friends in years. frankly, it scares me a little, and why bother? i already am blessed with the best girls a gal could get. i have forwarded this to my close circle of BFFs... i know that they will enjoy it.

Shannon said...

How I relate. I may not have moved to India but joining the Navy and moving to the deep south feels just as far away. Thanks for always being relatable. You are what I want in a friend. Don't you wish you could read a person's blog before introducing yourself. "Sure, I'd love a playdate but let me read your blog first to see if we're compatable." It is so hard to sift through all the haters and needers. Why can't we all just live in the same city? Anybody want to get together for a Lemon Drop? Sigh! Thanks for the great post.
PS yes, we had a booger wall but I totally forgot about it until now. thanks

zakary said...

What a sweet post. I have a hard time making new chick friends and my very best friend is a guy. Has been for years and years. Perhaps I need to work on finding the perfect lady Mom friend. I'm sorta depressed now that I don't have one.

Zoey and Sadie are adorable.

Lara@Paper Doll said...

I'm totally with you on this one. I don't have a close friend post-high school.

P.S. That daughter of yours? Divine.

P.P.S. Congrats on the new job! I know it's a bit belated, and I have been reading your blog, but I've been sick. I'd pick my head up long enough to read you, and then go back to sleep. So that book? The one you want to write? Please do so I don't have to drag my sick ass out of bed next time to sit in front of my computer.

Rosalie said...

Ah shucks. That was the sweetest post ever!
I am speechless, which says a lot.

karey m. said...

we move a lot. which i love for so many of which is the chance to make more friends.

someone just said to me last night that she likes quality over quantity. i disagreed. said the more friends in more places, the better. then you'll never be lonely wherever you are.

i'm not sure if i really believe that...because every once in a while i get homesick for my real friends, you know?

this was a good one.

The Lil Bee said...

I love that you've had the same friends since childhood. So have I. I've definitely made lots of new ones along the way, but my friends from childhood know me in a way that you just can't explain to anyone who meets you in adulthood. They know the lettuce is liquefying in the crisper before I do, for example, because they know I haven't gone shopping in two months. These are the same friends that helped me put out the fire in my mom's house when I warmed up the pizza in the oven—still in the pizza box.

So I love this about you:) And Zoey is a DOLL!

hello gorgeous said...

That made me miss my old friends to the point of tears. There are no friends like old friends. But here's to new ones.

I loved your gift package swappy thing on SGM - that coffee mug was sick. And not in the good sick way the kids use that now. :-)

I definitely have to catch up on old posts - you're a doll.

I wish I were a ballerina... said...

1) Your daughter is absolutely beautiful! I cannot wait to have a child of my own.
2)I identified with this post, although not exactaly with the same details that you have. Seems making friends is not always that easy, especially during high school for me (so shy then!). So no real long term friends in grade school, or high school...just college. But how many 'close' friends can you have in college? My experience is about 3, maybe 4. And now it seems that being out of school is again challenging in the 'friend growth' area...
25/30ths of the people I work with are over 50!
3)I just started a blog...after reading wedding blogs and many others for awhile, I decided to start my own. Nothing special but just thought I would say hello to the world of bloggin.
4)Sorry for the novel.