To My Old Best Friend
I wanted to write down the memories of a dear friend. Yes, she used to be my best friend, one of those friends who you talked about growing old with and having babies the same age and sitting on the porch together as old ladies. But we grew apart. Our lives weren't going in parallel, as much as we tried. We began to realize that we had different values and dreams and ambitions. We never talked about it though. I didn't fit in with her new friends, and we let those differing values and dreams and ambitions tear us apart until we drifted so far that all that was left were these memories.
We met in high school. You were someone I considered one of the popular girls. I knew you from being on the cheer squad freshman year, and I envied your flexibility. We both have long legs, but you had the flexibility I always wanted. We both tried out for the dance team, and made it. I remember that night in the basement when the team was reveled, and I felt completely overwhelmed. I was finally a part of something - a team. Little did I know that I would meet my best friend that night.
I've thought long and hard about how our friendship started, or why you wanted to hang out with someone like me. I was quiet (still am!), didn't have a lot of confidence (that has improved), and definitely wasn't the dancer that you were. I felt that you speaking to me allowed me to be a part of an exclusive club that everyone wanted to be in. Silly high school thoughts.
I can't remember how we started hanging out. But I remember so much about our friendship, so much more than I can capture in a little blog post. There's that time we were coming home and found that cat... and had to go get my neighbor, who was so damn high, to help us figure out what to do. The laughter and the shovel is imprinted in my mind!!
There was that time we were in the car flying down Mineral, came around a corner and luckily your little potato was nimble enough to switch lanes and screech to a stop. And remember when there was the fish in the potato?? And the time we were going to Boulder and couldn't remember what side of the highway the exit was on!!
I loved sleepovers at your house. We would stay up late, talking about boys and other randomness, and you would always fall asleep first. If we were in the basement, I would end up watching the rest of the movie by myself all the time. I always wished I could fall asleep like you could! Remember when we had the party at your mom's house and I got to make out with MM? ( I think those were his initials.... not totally clear on his last name!)
And then there were the jailbirds. Oh, if we could only go back in time and fix that! I can't believe that lasted so long. I loved going to parties with you at D and P's. And thank you for being the sober driver a lot of the time. I always relied on you, the more sociable one, to find what we were going to do on the weekends. I don't know how I would have made it socially through high school without you.
From parties after a football game to girls nights in M's hot tub, you brought so much out of me. There was so much joy in my life because of you. That last summer before college was the best time I could have spent with you. Knowing that there was going to be a separation, knowing that college was coming, without knowing where it would bring us, was heart wrenching. I vividly remember standing in your driveway, with your car packed, and hugging you goodbye with many tears flowing. Life would never be the same.
College challenged each of us in different ways. I fell into the trap of trying to fit in once again. I didn't have my best friend to help me navigate the social waters that I never felt fully comfortable in doing myself, so I drank a lot to try and be more social. I made a lot of bad decisions. I hadn't figured out who I truly was, and would have a long, hard road in front of me to try and figure that out.
I wish I would have called you the moment I realized I was pregnant at 19. I wish I wouldn't have let that put a wedge in between not only our friendship, but the friendships of just about everyone I knew in high school, and most of my college friends. I was ashamed and I already had a hard time fitting in - this only made it worse. I know we have briefly talked about this moment in my life, but I wish we would have dissected it more.
Do you remember the night before my wedding? We were sitting in the bar at Old Chicago, and I told you that I was having hesitations. Even though you were my maid of honor, I still felt that you didn't know the true colors of my soon to be husband. I didn't want to tell anyone my true feelings because I thought that everyone was happy for me, so I should be happy too.
My 30th birthday was the last true time we were together as best friends. Reliving it has made me really question what I did or said to have our best-friendship come to an end, but I have come to the conclusion that it was just time for us to move on. God put you in my life for a season, and most definitely many reasons. You helped me through so many hard times. You made me laugh and you made me cry. I'm sure I wasn't the best friend all the time, and I've spent many hours wishing I could have been a better friend so we would still have those dreams today of sitting on the porch as old ladies, watching our grandchildren play.
I recently posted something about maturity. It took me many, many years past my peers to mature. In fact, it wasn't until after my divorce (and a lot of therapy) that I felt I was truly being who I was supposed to be. I know I am now the woman who God made me to be, and someone you would be proud to know today and call a best friend.
Luckily, social media has helped me to stay in "touch." You are an amazing, strong, proud woman. I know things can still be tough. I know you have some hard times and bad days. I can see beyond the smile. I might not know the exact problems you have today, but I know who you are at the core. We spent our formative years stuck at the hip! You are a kind, generous, loving person. You want to succeed and you aren't afraid of hard work. You aren't afraid to speak your mind. You are kind and heartfelt and assertive and brave. And you put 100% into everything you do. You have a very special place in my heart, and you always will.
Oh, and I still envy your flexibility.