It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
This post is actually inspired by Jewels' post from yesterday, regarding childhood friends. In her case, she was talking about one particular case.
I often remember my childhood friends with fond memories. Some, not so many fond memories. But more of than not, they are fond. Most of them I no longer talk to. I guess we just grew apart, in some cases emotionally and in others, a physical separation was the start.
I don't remember most of the kids I was friends with when I was really young. Mostly, it's the friends I had from about the time I was 8/9 years old forward. My first "best" friend that I remember was Pearl. She was the first friend I made after we moved to Redding. We were practically inseparable for awhile. Eventually she moved to Palo Cedro and we stopped seeing so much of each other. After 7th grade, when my family moved, Pearl and I really never saw each other after that. We would talk on the phone once in awhile, but that was it.
In the same years I was friends with Pearl, I was friends with two other girls that I remember - Lacey and Brandy. Neither one was a very good friendship. We kept trying to turn someone on the other, and Brandy liked to steal small things from me - gum, Barbi clothes, etc. Probably things she thought I wouldn't notice, but I did. Brandy was always more concerned what time of year the pool would be ready, then anything. Eventually, enough drama happened between the three of us that my parents basically forbade me to see either girl again. While it sucked to lose two "friends", I'm not sure it really bothered me all that much, seeing as how much trouble I often got into with them.
The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.
In junior high, I had a group of friends that I hated leaving when I moved just before the start of 8th grade. Many of them came to my 12th birthday party, the largest slumber party I ever had. I mostly remember all of us sitting in a group at lunch and sharing our lunches. It seems we just passed food around, talked, gossiped, and laughed. These kids even threw me a surprise going away party. Well, they tried. Half the guests showed up late! But it was the thought that counted, and thus far, they are only ones who have ever tried to throw me a surprise party.
In 8th grade, I started a new school, and eventually became friends with Heather. I hung out with a few other girls as well, but Heather and I became "best" friends. We were all through high school. We did skits for Dinner Theater together, we had sleep overs, enjoyed Disney movies together, went to D.A.R.E. camp, played volleyball, and went back east for a school trip together. In high school, she fell ill. Long story short, she had to have brain surgery - well, on her brain stem, but it's still considered brain surgery. The last couple months of her freshman year she was spent in a dark room due to killer migraines. Our Sophomore year she missed more school than she thought she would. I would make cards on the computer and go around to all our friends and have them sign so she'd know people wanted her better and missed her. I took her her homework. I would visit with her in whispers so as not to hurt her head. She still missed a lot our junior year. And just as much our senior year. Whatever she had the doctors didn't much about it, but did know that the symptoms could reoccur for up to ten years. A month or two before we graduated, she sat with me and our other two close friends and told us she wouldn't be graduating with us - she'd simply missed too much school due to her illness. She was being forced to drop out and get her G.E.D. A year after high school, she stopped talking to everyone. Her older sister had passed away unexpectedly and the last time we saw her was at the funeral.
A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked.
During high school, I had two other very close friends. One I don't really talk to much except for the random email. The last time I saw her was our 10 year reunion a couple summers ago. But the other, Magan, has remained to be my bestest best friend ever. She knows me as well as I know myself. Sometimes better. I met her because she transferred into my English class our junior year . . . Mrs. Bitchley's class. We don't get to see each other as often as we'd like to anymore. We live nearly 2 hours apart and have full-time jobs. The last time we met for lunch, we wound up hanging out for 8 hours. We had to have dinner, too, because we got hungry! We talk about everything. We're there to lend support where others have been judgemental. We've both survived crazy/psychotic roommates. We've offered that shoulder to cry on. We're there for each other when life hands you nothing but lemons. We go to concerts together that no one else we know would go to. When we get good news, we can't wait to tell each other. When we get bad news, we know we'll get hugs. For a lack of better terms, she's my sister. And as far as I can see, that won't ever change.
Now, as an adult, I don't get to "hang out" with friends as often as I'd like. Mostly because now I have friends that have families of their own. We all have jobs that keep us busy. Some are in school for various degrees. And some are just busy. But I know I have friends who will be there for me if I needed them.
A friend accepts us as we are yet helps us to be what we should.
All of my friends have shaped me into who I am. They will continue to shape me as life goes on. Hopefully they will continue to shape me into a better version of me. We learned a lot from each other. I hope to continue to learn from them. All of my friends (even the ones not mentioned), are/were friends for a reason. It's always hard to lose friends for whatever reason. Distance (physical or emotional), time, personalities, arguments. It's never easy to let them go, because at the time, you think nothing will ever separate you. It's the ones who won't let you go no matter what you do or where you are that are the "lifers". The one that has been by my side the longest, I hope she will always hold that spot. It's forever reserved for her.
The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.