Friendship Takes on a Different Meaning as We Grow Older
byAshleigh WilkeningOct 05, 2017
Photograph by Twenty20
Due to unforeseen circumstances (*cough* Hurricane Irma), an impromptu cross-country road trip didn't leave much time to plan. After all, this wasn’t a vacation where the months leading up to it were spent coordinating details, organizing activities and booking hotel rooms. This was an evacuation. Besides the physical act of packing and high-tailing it out of there, arriving to a safe place remained the primary objective. Anything beyond that simply didn’t make the cut of importance when all I was concerned with was the safety of our family.
Long before the storm’s path was certain and my family made the decision to leave, we received a more-than-welcome invitation from our good friends offering their home to us. They didn’t care if that meant this family of five and all the accompanied chaos would be crashing their humble abode for who knows how long or disrupting the routine of their everyday lives. This was a true testament to our friendship.
I call this couple our good friends not because we see and talk to each other on a regular basis. In fact, there's a good 1,500 miles separating us and more often than not, weeks, if not months, will pass before communication resumes. But it doesn't matter.
There once was a day, long before kids and becoming adultish, when we did everything together. We had our tradition of spending football Sundays either at a local spot sipping on Bloody Marys and eating wings. We stood up in each other’s weddings. Birthdays and holidays were spent with one another—so much so, we became an extension of each other’s families.
We may not keep in touch as often as we would like, but that doesn’t effect the sentiment we hold for one another. As many of us know all too well, once you have kids, it can be damn near impossible to talk on the phone, let alone put in any additional effort into anything beyond keeping our offspring alive. The overwhelming amount of responsibilities coupled with the low supply of time and energy keeps us busy.
It just isn’t as easy as it once was.
As we grow older, our friendships evolve, taking on a completely different meaning. What used to involve constant communication via phone calls and texts, regular get-togethers and spontaneous outings is no longer.
My time is deserving of worthy relationships and friendships and nothing less.
Now, friendship means letting a family of five with three children under the age of 4 overtake your house and intrude in on your personal space. It means sacrificing a good night’s sleep because your toddler is now sleeping with you after you gave up his room to my boys. It means sharing the same living space knowing my children will most likely get yours sick because it happens every time. It means making us feel at home when are so far away from ours and providing comfort in this distressing time.
Quality over quantity. Less is more.
A few good, close friends will always mean more than many superficial ones. My time and energy is unbelievably precious. I don’t have the luxury to upkeep or maintain an unworthy relationship, especially now more than ever as I realize my children are growing up faster than I’d like to admit. My time is deserving of worthy relationships and friendships and nothing less.
The most valuable friendships are those that don’t take any work—they are simply effortless. It's being able to go long stretches with out seeing or talking to each other with no guilt. It’s understanding the complexities and demands in each other’s lives without requiring needing constant availability. Because, trust me, moms have enough people who constantly need them.
It’s being each other’s support system and always being there even when you can’t always physically be present. It’s knowing that weeks and months without communication won’t affect the integrity of the relationship.
I’m lucky and blessed to have such a friendship and, after spending a week with them and their family, I’m reminded why no length of time or distance can change that bond. These special relationships carry such a high level of importance in our lives, the term "friend" is almost an insult to define this type of connection. "Family" is far closer to the truth.