Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't Forget Where You Came From

There's a lot of talk about how technology has taken the personal touch out of relationships. First it was cell phones, then email, then social networking like myspace and facebook. Some people turn their nose up at it saying "I don't need to broadcast when I eat a pumpkin muffin" or "if I cared about what someone I knew 18 years ago was up to, I would've called them". As someone who moved away from home 10 years ago, I look at these advances as a blessing. Being able to see a video of my nephew's wrestling match, pictures from my sister's birthday party, or read a smart aleck comment from my best friend in college, makes me feel not so homesick. But there's also other reasons I find it truly remarkable.

When I was in elementary school, I had 3 BEST friends - Michelle, Karyn, and Kristen. I can still remember the smell of Michelle's basement, the way Karyn's mom laughed, and the way Kristen and I would watch movies I wasn't allowed to watch at home like 'Loverboy. We all used to sit at recess by the swings or the mouseholes (they were just hollowed out cement cylinders with holes in them so we called them that) and talk incessantly. I don't really even really remember what we talked about, but at the time, it was the only thing that mattered in the world. They would be my best friends for life and when our 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Fetzer, got mad at us for being too "cliquey" (first time I'd heard the word), we were almost secretly proud to be recognized as being that close.

By the time Jr High came, we started on our own paths. We developed other interests, we made different friends - we lived different lives.  Another "best" friend I made in 6th grade was Erica. She had just moved across the street from me. Call it luck, kismet, geography....she's still my best friend to this day.

But I think like any relationship, you never forget your first. Your first best friend(s).  You experience first sleepovers and first crushes and getting in real trouble for the first time. Like the "You're grounded" kind of trouble. Most importantly, they shape your relationships from that point on. So am I happy there are things like facebook that allow me to know that they're okay? Am I glad I'm able to see pictures of their children or just a snippet of their lives every once in awhile even if we don't talk much except for the occassional comment? You bet. Because the joys we shared and the mistakes we made together helped shape the friend I have become today and are part of the reason I have the amazing circle of friends that I do. And they will always be a part of me.

My mother used to say "When you're my age, you'll be lucky if you can count all your friends on one hand"...because people always grow and change and move apart. I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I need to use all my phalanges and then some to count the people I call friends. Michelle, Karyn, and Kristen are a big reason for that. And I don't have to look back on my fond childhood memories and say "I wonder whatever happened to......" I know they're more than okay; they seem to have gotten everything they deserved.

And now I'm gonna text Erica. Because I want to experience the joy of technology.


  1. I'm sure this entry would make those best friends smile. Hope they were able to enjoy it!

  2. I love this post! And I love that you and Erica are still close. :)

    As someone who emotionally checked out of high school long before it actually ended, I am enjoying what Facebook has done for my life. I'm reconnecting with people (like you!) I haven't talked to in fifteen years and it brings back these rushes of fond memories from childhood. I enjoy seeing how old friends and classmates have changed and what their lives are like now, which is something that a high school reunion couldn't provide in an uncomfortable drunken three hours.

    (Side note: You gave me a gift in 8th grade I want to thank you for. Do you remember playing a game where we (8-10 of us) would sit in a circle and go around saying something nice and then something that needed improvement for each girl? It turned out disastrous many times - we were fourteen year old emotionally labile girls, after all. However, I remember you telling me that when something exciting happened (like when you got the part in Annie - or am I imagining that?) you liked telling me because I would get just as excited about it as you. I have taken that with me and continue to apply that to my everyday life. Thank you!)