Before I continue I have to point out what I love about grown up friends is how age and interest can vary. In the case of these two friends not one of us is the same age, one is in her 30’s, me in my 40’s and the other, well, she’s barely 50-something. We do not work together, we each grew up in separate parts of the state and/or country and our children do not attend the same schools.
Each friendship was built separate of one another, yet when united we all just click perfectly. Of the many commonalities we do not share, there are two that we do. We are all married and we are all moms. The experienced one of the bunch has one child about to get married, one in high school and one entering junior high. Ironically, she was exactly my age when her middle child entered elementary school. She is undoubtedly one of my mentor moms.
The other friend I first met at a mommy group, she was new to Oakdale and not really sure about where her husband’s job transfer had landed her. I still remember our initial conversation, her eyes wide, politely smiling and nodding her head. It’s a conversation I have had many a time in the mom group I once attended. New moms to the area, seeking companionship for their child and friendship for themselves. It’s scary stuff when you are ‘not from Oakdale,’ as so many like to point out.
Making grown-up friends was night and day from when we were children. I really started thinking hard on this topic after discussing it with these two girlfriends and finally realizing I was not the only one who felt this way.
Late last week the conversation continued with the fourth of our grown-up girlfriends via Facebook. She left Oakdale several years ago and now lives in Nebraska of all places.
“Kids have it so much easier,” my friend Jamie stated. “They meet a new kid on the playground and they are instant best friends. They also have it easier when said friend leaves. I don’t know if they build the bonds that we do.”
Jamie continued by stating that as a grown-up you learn very quickly who your true friends are, noting Facebook as a great way to keep in touch with many of them on a regular basis.
“Know what else I have learned?” she added. “When a friend burns you as an adult it seems to stay with you a lot longer. It also ends the relationship, which is so sad. Kids get burned and hurt and they forgive and get over it.”
“As kids and teens, we have a lot of expectations of people we consider friends,” our friend Lori added. “They don’t call for a day and we (as kids and teens) freak out. Where as adults, my best friend and I are lucky if we talk once a month, but it doesn’t matter … we are tried and true friends.”
Jamie and I both agreed, making note that calls to our best friends are few and far between, but nothing ever changes with the relationship. Regardless of time or distance our relationships with our best friends each remain solid.
There are many things I have come to learn I love most about my grown-up friends.
We vary in age and are all from different upbringings, religious beliefs and backgrounds. Yet somehow we mesh just perfectly. I cannot tell you the first name of the mothers of many of these friends, or their favorite colors, where they were born or if they hold a college degree and in what topic.
I can tell you — when I am sad, excited, worried or just plain crazy from trying something new with my children … they are there. Regardless of state line or zip code, there is no question, there is no judgment, there is just plain and simple friendship.
As a grown-up, I take great comfort in that fact.
A special thanks to Lori Guyll and Jamie Gibson for their contribution to this column. The idea was there, but they made it real. Much thanks to you both.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.