I used to have lots of friends. Childhood through college there was always a plethora of people close around me. Buddies to hang out with, true friends with soft shoulders to cry on. There were classmates I saw every day, and dance friends I might see only a couple times a year.
Marriage didn’t change this. Hubby and I had lots of mutual friends, and those friendships remained until we moved east.
Did moving change this?
OK, moving a couple thousand miles away definitely puts a damper on friendships. We kept in touch with only a few people back in Wyoming. Before the internet, the long-distance thing usually meant people lost track of each other.
We did find new friends in Vermont. Some came and went as they had kids and we didn’t. We moved within the state, and the few new friendships we’d made suffered. We spent several years on campus when we went back to school and had many friends there, but the nature of college is that friendships are made and then then people move on and have lives. Actually, we both work at the college now, but at a different campus. We do still have a lot of friends at the school, but we’re not as close as were were when we lived in the dorms.
Having children definitely changed things. It distanced us from some friends, and brought new people into our lives. Having a child with special needs brought us into all kinds of new circles, but made us anathema to people who don’t understand why our daughter acts out.
We do have friends. Through social media, we keep in touch with dozens if not hundreds of people we’ve met over the years. Some of our closest friends are people we only see once a year, or less.
I would like to have the kind of friends I just hang out with again. I miss that. But “hanging out” when there are kids who need dinner and bedtime stories and we have jobs and responsibilities… is just not all it’s made out to be. It’s like an underwater kiss. It looks so wonderful and romantic, but if you’ve ever tried it, it’s actually quite uncomfortable.
I miss Colorado.
This post was written in response to a Write on Edge prompt on Friendship.
I bet you miss Colorado! When your kids are young, it’s hard to have relationships with people who don’t understand or aren’t “in the same boat”. Your life becomes so different but you long for the way things were. When your kids start school, you will meet all sorts of families who are doing the same thing. Hang in there.
…and we had an unusual way of becoming parents. Although adoption isn’t unusual, there isn’t the usual celebration that goes with the arrival of a child. When she moved in, it was a calm, quiet thing, and we hoped and planned we could eventually get through all the red tape to make it permanent. By the time her adoption was finalized a few years later, although we had a party and made a big deal about it, friends just sent “congratulations” and didn’t really seem to understand how important that finalization was.
We have two kids now, but for some reason we still don’t have the connections that I expected to make as a parent. Part of it is that my older daughter has special needs, and some people would much prefer to simply look right past us instead of trying to understand why she acts “strange.” Part of it, honestly, is that we’re living in the wrong place. We’ve been exiled to New England for 15 years, and we both desperately miss the West. Hopefully we can move back someday!
Wonderful post. I know what you mean. Even talking on the phone has become that under water kiss. Yet I miss the hang outs and the days of laying across the bed talking on the phone. One of my girlfriends from high school came to see me after Christmas. Even though my husband and son were home and I still had to “do stuff” she and I had a nice visit and we went and did a little shopping. Visiting from WOE – my first time linking up.
Thanks for visiting my blog, and welcome to Write on Edge!
A few months ago I was stuck using a cordless phone with no speaker, and I was starting to hate the phone call after only a few minutes. I had too much stuff to do, and I hated being tied to the phone. Even worse, once the cordless set died and I had to use the corded phone and sit still the whole time! A far cry from the days when I used to sprawl across the bed and just yak with friends.
I have always had a hard time making friends. I keep the ones I make. I’m really really really really good at that. But making them in the first place is so hard.
My life has been marked by relocation, much like an Army brat. In fact, growing up in Longmont, Colorado, everyone was familiar with the term “IBM brat” and joked that IBM stood for “I’ve been moved.”
I used to be proud of my ability to make new friends, but in this phase of my life, it’s strangely difficult. Lately, I find myself being jealous of people who’ve lived in the same area their whole lives, with childhood friends and family all within a short drive.