Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friendships: Going with the Ebb and Flow

When I was young, my friends were from the neighborhood. We went to school together, played at each others' homes and enriched our lives with all that we shared. Squabbles were settled easily, toys were shared, secrets were traded and brothers were tormented. We would sleep out in my playhouse, and the boys would come in the night throwing tin cans, rolling off the roof to scare us; which it did. Their silly giggles outside, however, dispelled the feeling of goblins and replaced it with the goofy brothers we knew.

Changing neighborhoods, states, and friends proved to be a huge adjustment,but this life lesson taught me to expand my circle of friends. Games I had played up north were unknown in my new neighborhood. Give and take with the new friends allowed me to learn as well as teach. Since we could play outside year round, the major obstacles for me was enduring the scorching heat and prickly, painful sticker burrs. Didn't have any life experience to teach me that something so small, could hurt so very much. Bike rides replaced sledding. Rattlesnake warnings were as casual as warnings to watch out for traffic. Even though, I came from Yankee land, my new friends and I established bonds that were comfortable and enriching.

Early teenage years brought a new environment and more challenges. Economic changes to our family took away many possessions and yet our family managed. I was undergoing physical changes that drew me further into myself and books became even more a retreat for me. Being alone, was not my nature so by high school, I branched out and gather a very small group of friends to my heart. We were a diverse group from all sorts of family configurations and we accepted each other for ourselves and not monetary riches or lack there of.

Many nights were spent at other people's houses, because the situation at my home made the weekends unbearable. Looking back on this time, I realize that my mom was stuck in a toxic situation and when I would escape on Friday nights and return on Sunday nights, she was worn out from the weekend fray. I always let her know where I was and when I came home, she was grateful to see me. My friends' families were accepting of me and for that I am eternally grateful.

Off to college and my experiences afforded me such a variety of friends that when I look back on those years, I realize that my education of life didn't just take place in the classroom. Friends introduced me to facets of life that were so foreign to anything I had ever dreamed. Throughout my college years I kept a small handful of friends who were as diverse as the decade in which I found myself. There was Dina, my friend who took me into her circle of friends and protected me from myself. There was Mary, my Italian, hot-blooded, quick tempered friend, who rescued me and put me on a plane to leave the state. Other friends filled in my years at college and helped me discover my dreams and play a part in the fulfillment of them. And then there was Bill. (Someday, he will be a blog all to himself.)

I will stop at the college years and continue another day with rest of my life. Stay tuned.

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