“Good friends are hard to come by.” This was a quote by an actor named Charlie Hunnam. Rarely do I look to quotes to get me through life, but this one kind of resonates. I have many friends who I see every now and then and generally get along with. There was one person I considered my “best friend” who was like a brother to me. He died almost four years ago. Being in my thirties and not being exactly the social type, I don’t consider myself to have a lot of friends and most of those I have known for a while. I consider my “core friends” those who I communicate on a regular basis with and regularly know each other’s families and what is going on with each other’s lives.
My daughter is three years old and since she is in daycare she goes to a lot of birthday parties of other kids who go the same daycare. She is at the point in her life where she talks about other kids outside of school and when you mention the word “friends” to her she mentions specific people – most of which we regularly see at birthday parties (with one big exception). At age three you see the friendships based on how they react when they see each other. (side note: girls at age three greet each other the same way they do at age 33: “TATUM!!!” “NORA!!!!”) So it has been hard on my wife and me to list our house for sale because while we want to move, we know our daughter will be sad.
There is one person who I have known for a while. I won’t mention him by name, but chances are you can probably figure it out based on how you got to this site and if you know me personally. I met this guy (we’ll call him John for now as I don’t feel like writing out “this guy” all the time) in high school. We both worked at the local amusement park and (ironically) he was at the time dating a girl I had dated previously and remained friends with. He and I actually discovered we had a lot in common (besides our taste in women at the time) and kept in touch. As is typical with most of my friends, we got to know each other’s family. Turns out he has a brother (Roy) who is just like him so of course we also became friends. Through the magic of social media, I also got to know John’s sister. She is very religious and shows it on social media. (May also and probably does show it in person, but we haven’t really hung out much in person). So I’ve gotten to know the entire family. Something I am proud of because they are all very good people.
Throughout the process of selling our house, we both have called upon our friends to help us through this process. Me more than my wife as I took this process way more to heart than she did. One person that really came through to me is John and Roy’s sister. I consider myself a fairly religious person. I don’t go to church every Sunday but the intention is there. (I know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions). I reached out to her in a time of need. I didn’t know what to expect. I just needed some reassurance that I was not alone (yes my wife was there with me, but I still felt the burden was mine to bear). What came back was something only a truly good person whose heart is filled with love could give. I won’t share the details, but what came back was the words of a “friend” who we’ve met in person only once (twice by my account, but once that we both remember). She didn’t have to write back, but she did. She is the type of person I want my daughter to be like. Someone who is good to everyone.
My daughter seems to be a very wise three year old. She looked at houses with us and we talked about moving and going to a “new school.” That night when I was putting her to bed she said to me, “Daddy? I’m really gonna miss my friends.” I think my heart broke right then and there. I told her I knew she would, but that we will still see them whenever we can. The next morning she said to her mom and I that Emily (her best friend) couldn’t be her best friend anymore because “we are selling the house.” I explained to her about Roy. She could identify with Roy as we see Roy many times when we go to visit family and friends in Pennsylvania, and Roy has even come down to visit us. I explained that Roy is one of MY best friends and that even though we don’t see each other very often, we still talk and we are still friends. I plan on emailing those people who we are friendly with to let them know we are moving, and to say we want to keep in touch. With Modern technology maybe we can actually do “face time” or some sort of video conferencing. One can only hope. Really I hope these kids parents are as accommodating to their kids as I plan to be for my daughter. I know it is hard to make new friends (heck at age 33 it is very hard for me to make new friends, so I can’t imagine what my daughter is going through).
My point throughout this post has been friendship means so many different things to different people. I’ve discovered that friendship means pretty much the same thing no matter how old you are. You feel comfortable around them, so you want to be around them whenever possible, you save a seat for them at lunch or on the bus, you talk about that girl/guy that caught your eye, you talk about how selling your house has been just hell for you. It doesn’t matter where they live or how often you talk, but just knowing they are there is comfort enough. I’ve known this for a bit, realized it more now, and hope to show my daughter this too.