Life has been pretty full lately. Full of plans. Full of busy-ness. Full of routines, schedules, play dates, dinner-making, husband time, playtime, teething, bedtime, church activities, housework and so on and so forth. Life has been full of things that keep me busy and definitely keep me happy, so I am not complaining.
But there was one thing that was always making my heart ache now and again when I was able to have some breathing time and space.
I miss my girlfriends. My besties. My closest friends, dearest to my heart, whom I have grown with, laughed with, cried with and just kicked my feet up with on a Friday night and had a good girls night in, pre-baby and pre-husband. I miss having my best friend as my neighbour and walking up the street to grab a coffee or some Korean food. I miss meeting on the bus or at the metro and walking hand in hand through the city life we were born and bred into.
My life feels fulfilled but sometimes my heart just goes, “Man, I miss my friends”
Not saying that I don’t have amazing and awesome friends here. I do, I really do and I am so thankful to God that He provided me wonderful people in our new home to share this life with and grow with during this season of life. I have made friends that I know will be strong friendships for years to come, and I feel so blessed knowing that.
But sometimes there is nothing more heartwarming than seeing the face of someone who “knew you when” and loved you and stood by you through thick and thin throughout the years. Who literally saw you through your worst and darkest moments, and now has seen you at the lightest and most joyful days. And then here you both are, on the “other side”, happy, full of joy, living life as adults and though we are apart, our hearts still guard those precious years full of youth, growth, stupid decisions, laughs, tears and then the graduation into adulthood.
That’s my Katie to me. Katie has been my friend since we were thirteen, and now at 30 and 31, we are stronger than ever. But also living further apart geographically than ever. I admit it, sometimes distance makes you doubt your friendships and relationships. And sometimes that doubt is warranted. But any doubt I may have had about the strength of our friendship was completely erased in the past two days. She is still my girl and always, always, always will be.
I think God heard my heart’s cry for the past few months. I feel like since our move, a lot has changed, a lot has grown. Our family has grown, my faith has grown, my friendships here have changed, our day to day life is completely different, the culture and the way of life here is completely different to that of Montreal’s, and we have adjusted and fallen in love with life here. But my heart ached not just missing my closest friends, but to be honest, ached because some friends who I held so dear just backed away a bit further away than I thought. Actually I never thought that would even happen, so it was hard realizing that perhaps some friendships would become a casualty in a huge geographic move. It was sad thinking about that but last month, Katie wrote me asking if she and her boyfriend could come visit us here in South Carolina on their road trip of the Southern US. Ask me?? Of course, they were welcome anytime!! I couldn’t wait and I couldn’t believe that I would have one of my oldest and closest friends here in Greenville with me!
I know now her visit was an answered prayer. She is my first friend (non-family member) who has come to visit us here and my heart is so full. Having her around for two days and sharing our day to day life with her and John Fredrick was more than my heart could handle! We talked about when we lived a 5 minute bus ride away and would get together just for a few minutes just to hang out in a park as teenagers. And then when we lived two apartment buildings away and would spend hours on weekends hanging out. And we talked about our teenage years and the folly of our youth and how “good it felt to turn 30 and say goodbye to all that drama of being in our 20s” We talked for hours and I know we could have gone on for even longer.
She told me all about her teaching job (she is an elementary school teacher) this past year with a challenging class and I was so, so proud of her and in awe. I’m so proud of her growth and maturity and just her heart’s desire to love her family and her friends so genuinely and selflessly. That is who she always was and now as adults, I know how valuable that is in a friend. I was trying my best to fill in all of those gaps that were impossible to fill. I wanted to get to know her life in Ottawa because it felt so weird that we have been physically out of one another’s lives for three years, and those years have gone FAST. We promised to never let years pass without seeing each others’ faces…
We are adults now. I am so, so proud to say that I had this girl in my life as a tween, teenager, through high school, CEGEP, University, tumultuous twenties (a la Girls), as a bridesmaid, at my baby shower, and probably be the only friend I would share the video of John Fredrick’s birth with and everything in between… to grow up with and now as women, we are in a place better than we could have imagined. Happy and in love and full of hope and excitement for the future. We were children when we met and now we are women, and she has seen me as a mother, which is a role that most of my family and friends back home have not yet seen me as. I am so happy that it was Katie that got to see us here first, in this special time we are living in.
I’m just so proud to have her as a friend and say that my best friend drove 1500km+ to visit me, how cool and special is that. Sorry Katie once you read this, I know you are not one to put yourself out there but I love you to death and just needed the space and time to say it to you.
All this to say that friends – true friends are rare birds. As I lay nursing John Fredrick back to sleep after Katie left, I felt a sense of loneliness. Growing up can be lonely in those quiet moments, as you say goodbye and miss those years that you wish you could now relive as a fly on the wall. Being an adult can be lonely when you are torn between missing the fleeting days of youth but have found joy in the responsibility and longevity of adulthood. Sometimes in the midst of big life changes – even if they are amazing life changes, I have craved the comfort of familiarity and old friends. Lasting friendships are based on growth and change and being able to love and hang on in spite of everything else going on around us. And now as busy adults, and myself as a parent, it is so important to be able to hang on to the belief that friendships can be lasting and everything that we have been through together has meant something. And that some people are worth travelling the distance and that even if our lifestyles, customs, beliefs and even accents have changed (ha!), friendship is another gift that God gives us in this life here on earth that we should cherish and nurture and never take for granted.