Thursday, June 5, 2014

Remember When

I think I'm officially in a new era.  It started to hit me after having my first kid, but at that point we still lived in the city and we still mostly ran around with the same crowd, many of whom were still single.  But now, 2 kids and a move to the suburbs later, I'm looking around and realizing that life is pulling everyone I know in different directions - whether it's marriage, or kids, a move to the suburbs, a move out of state, a job change.  It's all exciting and entirely normal, of course, but I'm looking into the barrel of a few of my best girl friends moving away and, well, I'm a bit wistful.  Wistful of a time when we would stay out until 4am on a Tuesday, when we'd wake up late on a Sunday and eat cheese fries in bed, talk about something other than men and kids (like what, I couldn't tell you), when we actually spoke on the phone, when we'd pile up in an old car to Madison and eat Steak n Shake both ways, when friends from Indy, Wisconsin, Nashville, wherever, would come and crash on our couch without notice, when brunch was not something you had to plan a month in advance.

I don't long to return to that time, but it is hitting me that it really is in the past now...soon it will sound like high school and college memories that you rehash every time you hang out with your friends from those eras, stories that are old but that can always be revived as if they happened the day before.  The "remember when" conversations.  It is quite wonderful to have friendships that span across the different eras of your life.  Your REALLY old friends knew you when you wore braces, still remember your parents' phone number,  saw you drunk for the first time...they understand why you ended up with your particular significant other and why you chose your profession because they knew all of your exes and studied for the SATs with you.  Then college/grad school/20s friends came into the mix...they found you as a kid and helped you become a grown-up, they were with you when you found out you passed the bar, they helped your boyfriend pick out a ring, they came to your first dinner party, they know what you actually do for a living.  It's surprising, at first, when you start to call these ones your best friends too, but at some point you realize they know you just as well, or even better, than some of those really old ones.

Some people fall out as you pass through these stages, but the ones who stick, they're yours for life.  There is no saying goodbye to them, but as lives change, inevitably so do the rhythms of your relationships.  I think a part of me had fantasized that we could enter the next stage - of settling down, raising kids - all in tact.  But in reality many of my close friends live in different cities, and those who live nearby are getting busier such that getting together takes planning and effort.  It seems I am entering a new era of friendship, of meeting people through our kids, becoming a part of a neighborhood.  These new people won't know how awesome I looked in jinco jeans, won't know what our go-to karaoke songs were, and may never know my maiden name, but they'll probably end up knowing my kids better than some of my old friends do, they'll drink wine in our backyard on Sundays and help us out when we lock ourselves out of the house.

One day, perhaps, I might even be able to call them best friends.