Friendship is hard. Maintaining adult relationships, especially after kiddos, is hard. It requires grace, love, patience, and commitment among other things. I have friendships that took hard hits after I had my daughter. People just didn’t get it, they didn’t understand that I was newly married, newly a mom, newly a full-time worker and student. Heck, my husband barely got it sometimes; we were still doing a ton of learning and growing ourselves.
I went to high school mostly with people I had gone to school with for years, except for the “new girl” who had moved to town from Kentucky. We had mutual friends and we bonded over an interest in photography. We grew up, graduated from high school, and went to college. At some point, it became she and I. I don’t know when or why. Our friends were the same friends. She was there when I got my heart shattered to pieces and I couldn’t get off the ground and she was there when new loved blossomed with the man I married. She was there the day I got a positive on the pregnancy test and she made me a nest and listened to me while I curled in a ball to panic.
Then she moved back to Kentucky.
She made a decision based on love and packed up her husband, her car, and that sweet baby boy in her belly, and moved back to Kentucky. I watched as she stopped wearing Tennessee orange and started sporting Kentucky blue. I’ve had friendships suffer with a move less than an hour away, let alone four hours and a different state.
Sometimes it’s hard to not have your person in the same state. I struggle more often than not with not being able to call her and say, “Hey, want to take the kids to the park?” or “I need to come over and cry because I can’t do it here, and I can’t do it alone.” She is the person I can tell any dark secret to and she doesn’t judge me. She empathizes with me, but doesn’t care to put me in my place. She is the person who supports me, encourages me, makes me sound 100 times better than I really am. She encourages me to write and she reads almost all of my blogs before I share them. We don’t even watch Grey’s Anatomy, but this is our meme.
She IS my person. She will ALWAYS be my person.
Her not being here has afforded us a new dynamic to our friendship. We have learned a lot from each other and with each other over the years. One of my favorite things our friendship and the distance between us have taught me is to slow down. Everything else can be put on hold in order to spend time with someone you love.
She bought a house last year. I got to see it in person for the first time two months ago. My husband had to work, so I loaded up my car and my toddler, and I drove to her. I have made the trip for special events like birthday parties or weddings before. This time was different, though. She met me at a gas station and led me home. She gave me her bed, my favorite quilt of hers, and she sat down in the living room with me. She cooked a delicious low-carb dinner to accommodate my diet, the kids played until they couldn’t keep their eyes open, she listened to me talk and let me sit in the silence that I never get. We laughed, we shared stories late into the night, and we watched our kiddos make memories. It snowed because she hates snow, and her negative-Nancy-no-snow energy brought it down for me, who loves snow deeply.
I didn’t have to cook or clean all weekend. I didn’t think about work or what someone needed from me. I didn’t worry about the stresses of my life or anything else. I took a trip to see my best friend, but I got so much more. I got to relax, I got to breathe, I got to soak up the goodness that surrounded me.
Some days long-distance friendship is really hard because I can’t be on her couch feeling however I need to feel. Having your closest friend 200 miles away can be lonely, I know that well. It helps create perspective though. Every get together is a special one and never taken for granted. Every photo deserves a frame because they don’t happen daily. Watching your kids play is more special than ever because they don’t play together too often. You learn to appreciate your person more because your person isn’t always there. The little things are the big things, like a home cooked meal, a cozy blanket, or holding a little boy you see once a year and spinning in circles as fast as you can.