Sometimes, I forget. But then something happens, and it comes to a head inside me. This aching, longing pain of missing my friends.
My best friend forgot to invite me to her son's birthday party.
It's not as big a deal as it may sound on her part. I wasn't mad at her at all, we both have hectic lives, she has 3 kids and we just don't see each other that often. We talked about it last time I saw her and she told me where it was going to be, they just hadn't decided on a time yet. When I checked with her about whether she was attending another friend's birthday party, she replied that they were scheduled at the same time and she forgot to email me about it. It's not a big deal.
Except. I know that if I saw her more often, she would have told me. If I still lived close, and we still hung out a couple of times a week, it would have come up in conversation. As it is now, I see her once a month if I'm lucky. When I read her email, it broke my heart a little. Not because of the fact that it happened, but because it just reinforces this feeling I've had lately that I'm missing out on my best friends' lives.
When I was in high school, I had a group of three girlfriends. We were very close, and hung out together a lot. In the years following, we changed and moved, but remained friends. After a falling out, we stopped all spending time together, but I remained close to all three of them individually. Now, one is in Seattle - I saw her a month ago. We had coffee and sat together and talked as if no time had passed. It felt good, but also made me wish that we were both better at getting together more often. One is in Portland and has twins the same age as Sam and another one who I've only met once. The third just moved to California. I'd like to visit her there, but with two kids and a tight budget, who knows if it will be possible.
I imagine if we all lived near each other. Maybe old wounds could be patched. Maybe not. Regardless, I could spend time with these women who mean so much to me. I could have a relationship with the children of one of my best friends. I miss them so much.
When I lived in Seattle, I established a wonderful group of friends. My best friend was one of the women in this group of my closest friends. I would go to a movie with her once a week, and we would hang out during the days. There were play dates where I could take the kids to play and we mothers would stay connected and where my sense of community was fulfilled.
With my best friend in particular, I can pick up where I left off. When I get to see her, it's like a breath of fresh air. But I miss her. Even after we moved to Bellingham, I used to go down to Seattle once a week for work and would stay at her house and hang out with her. It was the best of both worlds - living close to my Mom and staying connected to her. Eventually, the job ended, but I would still go down and visit. Now though, with two kids? It's so much harder to get down there. And I am afraid that I'll lose her. There is nothing in the world that could keep me from seeing her as often as possible. If I describe Justin as my heartmate, I would describe her as my friend soulmate. The thought of losing that connection makes me feel sick.
I admit that I am jealous. She is still a part of this community that I am now looking at from the outside. Our old church, our small group, and friends she introduced me to or that we met through book club who I don't get to see as often. She has another friend she goes to the movies with every week now. I am so happy that she has that, and I actually really like this other woman. I just wish I was there too.
I get to go down once a month for book club, and it rejuvenates me, it re-energizes my soul. It's like a fog lifts and I feel amazing after seeing this group of women who have been through so much together. Maybe I should just feel lucky I get to see them that often.
When I first moved back to Bellingham three years ago, I joined a local Moms Group through Meetup.com. It was a lifesaver, and I don't know what I would have done without it. For a long time, I hung out with the women in it and felt I'd made friends. There were play dates at least once a week, and much-needed monthly moms nights out. Somehow, it faded. Ever since a bunch of us got pregnant with second kids, I don't see them anymore. The meetup group has become all but defunct.
I don't know if everyone stopped doing things, or if I am just left out of privately arranged play dates now. There's one woman I really like who I will see this week and am going to make more of an effort to hang out with. But the bottom line is that for the past 9 months I have felt disconnected.
I miss my friends. I feel stubborn because I just want my Seattle friends. I don't want to find a whole new community to invest my heart in up here if it's just going to ebb like it did the last time. I miss my best friend, her kids, her husband. I miss sharing stories with my friend whose son's favorite shows are about woodworking and who wants to know everything about the world. I miss hanging out for hours on end and having something to do during the days. I miss having girls nights out with my closest confidantes - letting off steam, confiding in each other, and supporting each other.
I don't know that there's a solution. I would like to be able to get down to Seattle more. During the summer, I'll be able to go down with both kids to spend days and do outings with my friends. And it just has to be enough. I just wish there was another way.
For now, I just sit here and the pain in my heart is palpable. I try not to think about how I'm feeling this loss, because when I do it bring tears to my eyes.