At a recent birthday celebration (we won’t mention the age!), I took a second to appreciate the room full of not only amazing family members, but also fantastic friends who have been in my life for years. Many of these friends have been with me through highs, lows, and everything in between – and besides, they know where the bodies are buried so it’s good to keep them close by!
That being said, the majority of these friends are people who I’ve known from high school or even earlier. It got me thinking – is it really that much harder to develop long-lasting friendships as you get older? Not just the “grab-a-coffee” friends or “let’s-chat-about-last-night’s-Big-Brother” friends or the “hey-you’ve-got-toilet-paper-tucked-into-your-skirt” friends… I’m talking about the honest-to-goodness “I-would-share-my-last-glass-of-wine-with-you” connection. A real true friend!
When my son makes new friends, it’s often a simple “Wanna be my friend?” that creates a potential lifelong buddy. Since my life doesn’t necessarily revolve around playgrounds and Pokemon, it definitely seems a bit tougher.
When I was on mat leave, there weren’t many friends off at the same time, so I threw myself into whatever local ‘mommy events’ & Early Years Centre groups I could find. To say it wasn’t exactly a raging success is an understatement. I went in desperate for adult conversation and some touch of the “mommy bonding” – and came out desperate to jam a fork in my eye! It was the same group of people each time, and it felt more like a walking “brag book” then an actual support group. (Seriously, if your kid slept through the night from Day 1, nursed like a champ at all times, napped 20 hours a day, was reading by 6 months of age, and painlessly grew a full set of teeth at the same time – just assume we can’t be friends!)
What I learned is not to give up. I have been so fortunate to stumble upon so many amazing people who make me feel like less of a basket case mom - people who just "get it". And I'm sure it's made me a better mom - and a better person - to have those outlets and such support. Never try to do it alone.
End of story, right? Not quite… As I looked around that room at that infamous birthday event not so long ago, I was so grateful to be able to see “news friend” amongst my “true friends”. Seeing people who not only "knew me when" but also people who know me now - and like what they see - has been incredibly gratifying. I'm so glad that their answer to my “Will you be my friend” has been a resounding “yes”!