When I had a disagreement with a friend during my teen years, Mama tried comforting my hurt feelings the best she could. “Don’t worry about this little squabble. Your friendship with this child won’t last.”
I asked how she knew that.
She replied that lifelong friendships aren’t formed until you go to college.
Her way of telling me to not worry about the argument made me feel like she was dismissing my friendships. And when you are a tween-age girl, your world revolves around your friendships.
The disagreement eventually was resolved and the friend and I did eventually part ways, sitting at opposite ends of the table in the cafeteria, and just passing each other in the hall.
Mama told me in her own little way, that she was right.
But that didn’t mean that whole theory was.
Evidently, whoever told Mama this lie thought that children outgrew their friendships as they did shoes.
Why she believed it, I am not sure.
Her closest friends were the ones she grew up with – my Aunt Cherry and Aunt Connie being her childhood best friends – and her friends from work.
Whoever told Mama this erroneous theory believed children couldn’t form solid friendships until they were more mentally and emotionally mature. And quit fighting over boys.
I did make some great friends during college.
I didn’t have the normal college experience that most folks do, as I commuted the whole time.
There was no living in the dorms, no pledging sororities, or any of the other fun stuff that forged lifetime allegiances. I made some good friends just the same.
Our friendships have been more solidified now that we are grown than when we were complaining about how our Criminal Law professor liked to sit on his desk while he lectured.
I tend to believe we have girlfriends for every stage of our life.
Like that proverbial saying: “Some friends come for a season, a reason, or life.”
I have had many friends who came for a brief period of time and then we went our separate ways.
There’s nothing wrong with that either.
Some people think if we don’t nurture these lengthy, emotional bonds, it signals there is something wrong with us. Or the other person.
But that is simply not the case.
Some friends come in and out of our lives, with no bitter ending just a simple moving on.
A few friends have come into my life to teach me lessons-either by mirroring my own flaws, highlighting my strengths, or just teaching me how to be a better friend, mother and wife.
Sometimes, I was the teacher.
Once the lesson was learned, we just seemed to ease out of each other’s lives.
Unlike Mama’s earlier notion, I have a few friends that I have known since I was four.
It’s not a question of if we are still friends, it is a knowing we always will be.
My soul-sister and partner in crime came into my life several years ago when we worked together.
“It’s nice getting some girl time in,” Sara Jean said over salads during one of our first lunches.
“I agree,” I answered. “I never do a Girl’s Night Out; I’d rather be home with my boys.”
Even though there’s times I have told Lamar how I could kill him in ways that are empirically undetectable, I still would rather be home with him, Cole and the pups.
“I’d rather be with my family, too,” she said and that’s how it all began. Having such a strong value in common forged our friendship early on.
When I had a teeny tiny fit a few years later and quit another job, I felt like a lot of people were disappointed in my decision.
Instead, Sara Jean showed up the next day with a trunk full of groceries and necessities -the girl brought me toilet paper (“It’s a daily necessity,” was her statement when I pulled it out of the bag) – and a homemade peanut butter pie. And helped me get Plan B formed in my head.
I am glad Mama’s theory didn’t hold water, and not just because it’s always good to tell her when she is wrong.
Sometimes, the friends made at four are friends for the long haul.
They knew us when we were gawky, geeky, awkward, chubby and pimply -and still stayed friends with us.
And sometimes, if we’re really, really lucky, we make new ones that see our new awkward moments, our fits, and moments of utter insecurity and instead of running, they sit down and settle in for the rest of the ride as well.
No matter when they are made, they all are – and should be – cherished.