Sunday, August 24, 2008

Didn't See That One Coming

Life is funny. And by funny I mean ha ha funny, weird funny, ironic funny and interesting funny. You think you know where you’re going and then BAM! the road ahead is washed away and there’s a pathway with bunnies and rainbows and music that you didn’t even notice before.

Being part of the military has its benefits. It has its downsides too. The biggest downside other than deployments are the constant changeover of friends. I figured that since we’re stationed in my hometown, that wouldn’t really be an issue. Well, I was wrong. A few friendships are able to be maintained regardless of distance. Most are not. There’s something about ‘out of sight, out of mind’ that happens with a lot of people. I’m not one of those people so when it happens to me, I take it personally. I had one awesome friend who helped drag me through my first pregnancy and post partum horror. We were inseparable. And then she moved. And now she’s got a different circle and doesn’t even communicate with anyone from the group she was with here. Another friend and I hit it off right away. She had a brand new baby and a daughter Trey’s age. I was newly pregnant with Leah. Our husbands got along great. We got together at least once a week for dinner and once a week at the park. Our older two were best friends. We all went to church together. We took them to Vegas with us for the Marine Corps ball. We had a blast. Then he got another job which moved THEM. Hey, we’re the military people. We’re supposed to leave, not the civilians. I have one girlfriend I’ve been in constant contact with since high school. Her husband is also a Marine and they’ve been out of the area since 2004 but things haven’t really changed between us. Why can’t this be the norm? To put it lightly and without dishing all the dirt on the other people, I have friend issues. I’m always looking for quality. I size people up. I’m not one to have twenty friends at all times. I have a handful that I cherish and plan on them being in my life forever. It rarely works that way and unfortunately, I mostly get along with other military wives because I don’t have to explain EVERYTHING. They just get it, they know the acronyms, they know the lifestyle, they’ve survived a deployment or four. I hate that because they end up leaving. I need stability. WHY did I fall for a guy in the military? Rather, why is the guy I fell for in the military at all? Well, that’s a rather loaded question, but it is what it is and this whole process has stretched me. Not a lot, but enough to be uncomfortable a whole lotta times.

During one of those uncomfortable times I was sitting at home, bored and not really knowing what to do with myself. I had a little baby boy and my husband had a relatively new job in the Marines. I wasn’t working. It was not too long after 9-11 had taken place. Things were crazy, unpredictable and up in the air. I got online and to bring back some peace from the past, I started googling people from high school. I have a very strange tendency to remember a lot of useless things: people’s first and last names that I wasn’t even really friends with, people’s birthdays after being told once (but I’m horrible at remembering to send a card), what someone was wearing to so and so’s 8th birthday party, a song that was being sung during a spaghetti dinner for a Girl Scout get together (Boy George’s Do You Really Want to Hurt Me being sung by some crazy older Cadettes while I was a very shy, timid Brownie. They scarred me for life). Anyway, I remember weird things. So I’m googling and not really finding a whole lot until…I come across this blog of someone I was in Spanish II with my sophomore year. Erika sat right in front of me in class and we would talk before class started (and sometimes during it). I started reading and found out all about her current life. I sent her an email saying hi and asking about others we both knew when she informed me that she hung out with someone I was best friends/worst enemies with between 1st and 12th grade. You know how it is: you meet when you’re six, you’re inseparable, you grow up, you get new friends, you hate each other, you make up and the process repeats until before you know it, you’re 18 and you’ve grown up together and apart and now you’re legal adults and how did that happen? We emailed a few times more and then I started emailing with Krista, our mutual friend. We didn’t really have a whole lot in common anymore. She and her husband didn’t have kids, she worked full time, her life was very different than mine. The last time we’d emailed was in 2003.

We moved out of our house on base in 03, changed email carriers and I lost contact with Krista. I figured it was just meant to be. I’d tried to contact her, but it just didn’t happen. Life went on, I had Leah, started my second blog (which you’re reading now) and kept reading about Erika’s life. Within the last six months I noticed that Krista would comment on Erika’s posts. I’d tried to say hi through the comments, but nothing came out of it. Again, it must have been as it was to be.

Less than three weeks ago, I noticed a link to Krista’s blog. I didn’t know it even existed! I read all about her life as a mom and left her a comment saying hello and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. We decided to meet one morning and get our kids together. In walks this person I haven’t seen in fourteen years who looks just like I remember her and it was surreal. The irony, haha, strange, interesting part is that Erika, the reason for our reconnection, showed up not ten minutes later for a separate playdate with a totally different person. Now that, my friends, is bizarre.

Krista and I met up again for dinner at her place and it wasn’t like getting together with a new friend. It wasn’t like getting together with a friend you’ve had forever, either. It was very much a combination of both. We had (and still have) so much to catch up on. Our lives and circles were so different in school even though we were in the same spot and lived less than three blocks from one another. There wasn’t an uncomfortableness (yes it’s a word, I just made it one) in her house—I felt at home, like it was normal and could just go in the fridge if I needed to, or search for a spoon in a random drawer.

We’re like, grown ups now, with responsibilities and kids and bills and real cars that have our names on the titles. We used to wear jelly bracelets and beg our moms for Cabbage Patch Kids, got excited over our first pair of Vans and Esprit bags, got in fights over rumors and hurt feelings, had sleep overs and secrets. It’s weird how people are brought back into your life when you’d never thought it would happen again.

Make new friends but keep the old,
One is silver and the other’s gold.


Andrea said...

It's a small world, isn't it? ;-)

Judy said...

Wow, that's amazing that you all ended up in the same place!

I love friends like that - hard to come by, but hang on to never know where it might lead!