I’ve always been insecure about my friends. Growing up, I’d go away to summer camp and make wonderful friends, we’d write letters throughout the year (pre email!) and talk about how we would always stay in touch, replicating the friendship in Beaches.
Meanwhile I would drag myself through another day of school feeling lonely and virtually friendless. And so it goes. One year I’d be friends with the kids in my class, the next not and I never understood why. I’d watch with envy as my sister monopolized the phone. Notes passed in class folded in intricate ways spilled from her backpack.
Now that I’m older, no longer forced to endure the school cafeteria agony of choosing a seat, I still remember the trauma, the feelings of exclusion and remain sensitive to friendships.
When I moved across the country, both times, I had to start anew making friends. I’d call friends of friends hoping to spark a relationship. But finding a friend, going through that courtship and solidifying a relationship is challenging, and in many cases can feel one-sided.
Several of my school friends have disappeared from my life and when one of them drop outs it remains painful, especially when phone calls, letters and attempts to reconcile are ignored. But I suppose that is life, it’s a struggle to remember our good times without it being tainted by the tragic ending of the relationship.
Now that I am a mother of two I have less to invest in relationships. A lot of my current friends are mothers I’ve met in the past three and a half years with children the same age as mine. We understand each other’s time restraints and inability to finish a sentence without a toddler interrupting.
I will confess I have not completely overcome the insecurities that plagued me when I was younger. I’m surprised that one girl with whom I was on again off again friends in middle school declined, perhaps ignored, my Facebook request. I see pictures of other friends I have grown up with having mini-reunions and wish I was invited.
The rational side tells me I have infinitely more important things to attend to, like my amazing family. I’m incredibly fortunate of the life I have and the opportunities afforded to me. And then there is that little girl who was once picked second to last for the gym team, who ate lunch alone, who would go through an entire day of school without conversing with anyone other than teachers, who was excluded from birthday parties, who only overheard about the big party on Saturday night, who stayed home on Friday and Saturday nights, who just felt excluded.