A friend from BC is coming to visit today with her children. She and I were very close before we moved to Alberta, doing everything together on a day by day basis. We met in a community group for moms with new babies, and a group of us formed an instant bond, and supported each other through those crucial first years as new mothers.
A friend of mine wrote a post recently on the nature of friendship, and how some friendships fill a need for a season, and others last for much longer. I have quite a few long-time friendships and I'm very proud of them, because the conflicts have been resolved and the friendships have remained intact through distance and other changes.
Certain relationships become cemented in times of crisis, like beginning university or having a baby, and those friendships seem to have the most staying power. Any time of personal transition allows the seeds of new friendship to flourish in a way that the regular times of life simply can't imitate. When we most need friends to understand us and walk our path with us, we find the people who tend to become soulmates for a lifetime.
In a way, friendship is like dating. The stakes are equally high, because we've all made friends that we later try to gently extricate ourselves from, and if the other person doesn't agree that we should go our separate ways, it becomes as painful as a bad romantic break-up. Sometimes we just don't mesh with people at all, and often the timing isn't right for a friendship to grow, but if we give it a few years, something will bond us with that person, and the friendship blooms.
Maybe the bonding incident or circumstance is what really determines our friendships. I know when I moved to this small town, I was incredibly lonely for my wonderful BC friends, and I was desperate to make new friends. Like the dating world, it's possible that desperation could be smelled a mile away by people and they steered clear of me. It took a good eighteen months for me to settle in and find any real friends. Some of the people I pushed hard with didn't take to me initially, and yet now, four years in, we are good friends. If I really look at it, something specific always happened to bring me together with that person in a new way, and out of that experience, the friendship was born.
True friendship is a gift. We must give of ourselves on a regular basis in order to keep our friends, and in giving we find we receive equally from the other person. And now I get the joy of watching my kids reunite with their friends as well, particularly Ava with one of her first real friends. I'm certain they will have grown apart, since they live a province away and attend different schools and have their own friends, but hopefully, like adults, they will still have a bond that will endure.