Friday, March 20, 2009

When friends leave

When I was ten years old, my parents announced to us (my brother and me) that we would be moving to a place called North Carolina. It seemed like an adventure every step of the way. The garage sale, the packers (who packed a kitchen trash can full of garbage), the movers (who were very polite and only broke one thing, which they felt remorse for and quickly filed a claim, but still smelled like salami) and all of the goodbyes. I never felt sad about leaving my friends, my school or my grandparents, even. I remember going to school and telling my teacher, Mrs. Gallaghan (who was a bitch) that I had some exciting news to share. When I told the class that I was moving, I did not get the response that I was hoping for. I expected everyone to be wildly excited for me and even a little bit jealous. Instead, I got, "well, Nancy-that's not exciting news at all. Why would you want to go away from everyone you know?" and questions along that same line. My friend, Celeste, had a going away party for me and it was fun, but I couldn't get why people weren't excited for me.

Now, I get it.

In my adult life, I've had friends come and go. You make friends based on similar circumstances- but when the circumstances change, sometimes the friendships don't transition. As a college student, I worked at a camp during the summer. During those summers, the friends I made at camp were like sisters. We got "friendship ear piercings"--we each got one hole and split a pair of earrings. Camp would end. A few letters passed, Christmas cards, an email here and there--now I'm left with just scars in my ears.

When I left teaching for motherhood in 2004, I knew that the school would be just fine. I was not one of those teachers who thought the school couldn't function without me. I did, however, think that some of the friendships with colleagues would have stayed truer. Workplace acquaintances, huh? It's like having a comrade on the front lines, but when the war is over--you go back to your life and forget about them.

There are a few people who remain treasured friends. Seems like months can pass without a word between us and then we can pick up mid-sentence from our last conversation. There is no agenda between us, nothing to gain from being each other's friend and no one is "keeping score".

I guess this whole rant is prodded by Nick and John's departure. In the last couple of years, they have really taught me a lot of lessons. How to be a good neighbor, how to make people come together and most importantly, tolerance. Not just in the sense of tolerating their choices, but understanding that love is love is love. Even if it doesn't fit the description that you've always used. Like adding a new word to your vocabulary--maybe not a NEW word--but an equal meaning for a word that you already knew. They left a few days ago and I wonder where our friendship will end up. I envy their position of being able to take off into the unknown without a Plan. No idea where they will end up, no obligations, no deadlines--nothing. Exhilarating, but terrifying at the same time.

I am hopeful that our relationship will be able to transcend this move. That it was as strong as I thought it was and that we were not just friends of convenience, situation or geography. Only time will tell.

To be continued...


Jemel said...

I know exactly what you every sense of your blog. The excitment to leave, the saddness of those from whom you depart, the change of friendships as circimstances evolve. How thankful I am for the friendship that you and I have...I consider you a "golden" to cherish forever, because our friendship isn't complicated it just is! Thanks for being my friend!

atomic momma said...

Aw Nanners...I know their move has been really hard on you. They won't lose touch with you. This was a really warm, honest heartfelt post by you and I know it wasn't esay to bare your soul but what a beautiful post.

I was walking past their house today and I miss seeing the two of them on their computers in the home office looking up and waving at me and Jezzy-Belle walking by.

Tom said...

Jesus, are you high?

Seriously, what has happened to the cynical, rude Jersey-broad that I know and love? Sentiment? TOLERANCE?

Dave would be disappointed.

(Ok now that is out of the way. You and I both know Dave was more mushy that either of us.)

I am convinced we only have some many "slots" in our friends bank. When one leaves, it is just so another can come along.

Of course, You and I both know that you are the only person from Smithfield I have talked to in the past 20 years.So what do I know...

Kristen said...

Well, where are the birds? I knew when I changed mine, I should have told you :) They were pretty cute, but your blog looks good now too! Tis is fun and once I get my new out!

Hope all if well your way, we all have colds...sounds like you al just got over this stiff yourself!

John said...

You made me cry. . . That's not very nice!!

Nick said...

i have read this over and over again. i just tonight discovered that i could "follow you" so i am now a follower of Fancy Nancy. It brings back so many fond memories when i go back and read it, and i nearly cry everytime. I want you to know that you will have to put up with my phone calls for a long time to come and even some infrequent visits. I miss you all so much.