I've noticed something as I've made my novice way through the blog world: I must have had a lousy school experience. There are so many people who are renewing friendships from high school, and it's not just mere curiosity to see what the cheerleader/jock looks like now that they've put on a few pounds and added a few kids to their family. These are real friendships: the kind where you have a lot of common ground to rib each other about and where you know each others' kids.
I was always jealous of such relationships. I guess I still am, to a point. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying I didn't have friends in high school, but of all the people I grew up and went to school with, there is only one whom I still call occasionally. We grew up next door to one another, and she's my 3rd cousin. Still, I can't say we're super close. The group of friends I hung out with at school ended up being just that: people I associated with at school but not much anywhere else. They would get together outside of school and do stuff, but they rarely, if ever, included me. Of course, I found all this out much later when I was invited to a bridal shower and they all made reference to some common experience. They seemed confused when I didn't know what they were talking about. It hurt me then. It still hurts now. I had come to believe that they were true friends.
I watch my son A--, now in 4th grade, and see him struggling socially the same way I did. Third grade for him was a year from social hell. He played mostly with one friend (a girl). They both got teased mercilessly. This year, thankfully, seems to be much better. A-- has decided that kickball is fun and spends many of his recesses on the blacktop with a variety of boys and girls. But I am filled with dread upon hearing him say that J--, one of the mean kids from last year, likes to pick A-- to be on his team solely because A-- will ask J-- to kick for him. Is it right to let him be happy about being chosen on the basis of his willingness to be trodden underfoot? I wonder if that is why my school "friends" allowed me to be a part of their group. Was I a friend of convenience, like a piece of toilet paper, to be used when you want it but to be ignored when you don't? It worries me. I don't want to see my boy as miserable as I sometimes was. And let's face it: the pain of social rejection, when it occurs during your youth, never goes away.
Thankfully, I now know what true friends are. School was so long ago, and was such a relatively short period in my life. The great thing about being an adult is that I have much more time ahead of me to be the kind of friend and build the kind of friendships that I want. What a blessing to have my husband as my best friend. Next to him, and in no particular order, come Nancy, Katherine, Shannon, Karolyn, Lorien, Dalene, Melody, Marilyn, Stefanie, Regan, Annette, Corrine, Lesleigh, and so many others. You have done wonders to heal past hurts. Thanks.