Deanaland

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Friends

1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1989, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2006.

Those are all the years that I have moved. Either with my family growing up, going off to college, or moving with my husband or husband and child/children. As much as I dislike moving, and as much as I never want to move again, you could say I'm a pro at it.

A big part of moving is making new friends. I can look at all of those years up there and know which town we moved to and who my closest friends were in that town.

Except for one.

While hanging out at the mall with Julia and Jenna this past Saturday, and then again while eating lunch with them after church (Chad was out of town) on Sunday, I had a startling thought. My best girlfriends, right now where we live, are my children.

Of course I have adult friends. There's Carol, my BFF since college who lives in Waco. There's Lois, my best Baytown girlfriend. I still talk to the two of them just about every week.

And I have friends here that I go to lunch with every Wednesday while we're doing Community Bible Study during the school year. I have friends who live close to me -- some from church and some who are parents of my daughter's friends -- who are quick to help with different things, like picking up kids from school or checking on pets if we're going out of town. I really enjoy being with these people. I'd like to get to know them better. I just haven't yet.

I believe there are several reasons for this:

1) Moms of young children are busy. I kind of wish we were like 1950s housewives, who gathered for coffee in someone's kitchen every morning after the kids left for school. But our culture left that behind a long time ago. I got a bit spoiled in Baytown, because my best friend there was retired. I could call her up at 11:45 a.m., say "Want to go to lunch?" And she pretty much always said, "You bet!" We've both really missed those lunch dates over the past two years.

2) I work at home. There are a lot of great things about this, but one problem is that it can be quite isolating.

3) It's easier being friends with people online that in real life. On Facebook, I've reconnected with my best friend from elementary school as well as a lot of people from high school and college over the past year. I'm even Facebook friends with the guy who was my second-grade boyfriend. It's so easy to sit down at the computer, type out a quick message to someone, and then be on my way.

4) I have an innate shyness that has gotten much better over the years. But it still causes me to aware of the fine line -- whether it's real or imagined -- that exists between "getting to know new people" and crashing a long-celebrated, close-knit party to which you aren't sure you are invited. The "new kid" complex. I guess I've existed there for a while now.

5) I could say that the people we know here are spread out across Little Rock and its surrounding areas, which could make it hard to get together with on a regular basis. But the Houston area is like that, too, and I still managed to have friends in Baytown, Houston, Clear Lake, La Porte, Deer Park, Cove and Barbers Hill. (OK, so Cove is a two-square-mile area. But it really is amazing how many people I knew in those two square miles.) But now that I think about it, gas didn't cost then what it does now.

I like hanging out with my girls. But I don't think they need to be my best friends. Besides, the oldest is just a few short years away from junior high, at which point she will begin thoroughly hating me for no particular reason. So something needs to change before then.

Which brings me to my summer plans. My goal is to hang out with people I haven't hung out with yet. And hang out more with people I have hung out with. I'll either end the summer with closer friends, or a whole lot of people who just want me to leave them the heck alone. We'll see what happens.

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15 Comments:

  • At Tue May 20, 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Harmony said…

    I'm a blog staulker through my friend Lauren. You hit a nerve with me on this post. I am in the same place. We just moved to a totally different place last July. I also work from home so my family is still my closest friends. I also have the "new kid complex". You helped me remember that I need to try harder this summer and get to know some more of the ladies at church. Thanks for reminding me I'm not the only one. :)

     
  • At Tue May 20, 01:00:00 PM, Blogger Kelly said…

    Great post (as most of yours are!). I was just saying something similar about how much easier it is to keep up with online friends than real-life friends. Sad, but true.

    I'm a closet shy person as well and have seen that surface even more as a new stay-at-home mom and as we have recently changed churches. It's good to hear someone else talk about it. :)

    PS: Come hang out with me when we're in Little Rock in September for a bike rally Wade is riding in! :)

     
  • At Tue May 20, 02:04:00 PM, Blogger Alissa said…

    New town, new house, new job, new church...same here. I miss the closeness of real friends too, but I also fear the commitment of real friends...time is a luxury that I just don't have in great supply. I hate to crash the party, but I also hate to plan a party that I can't find time to attend.

    (I moved upwards of 13 times, most of that during childhood...that is a lot for a kid)

     
  • At Tue May 20, 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Jacinda said…

    Good post, good post. May I link you? As you know, I am the "new kid" too. I was just thinking the past couple of days that it does seem kind of like now that the girls are older that 'family' takes up a lot of time and 'friends' may take a lower place. Which....is that a bad thing really? I mean, my family should come before girls' nights out......but an occasional girls' night out would be nice too.

    Ah..different phases of our lives....good post, good post.

    I have also been thinking that I need to take a deep breath and put myself out there more too. I've given my phone numbers to 2 different stay-at-home moms at church who have mentioned getting together for a playdate, but they haven't called. What's to keep me from calling them?????

     
  • At Tue May 20, 03:52:00 PM, OpenID ihavetobelieve said…

    Deana -
    I'm a big believer in good Christian Girlfriends! What would I do without mine??!!??? I tend to have older friends too. Someone asked me one time why I didn't hang out with young people (aka teens/college - shudder!) to make me feel younger. I'll tell you what, young people make me feel old! Older people make me feel young! I know you work with young people- I have to admire that! But anyway - good friends are so important, and true friendships take time to form. I'll be praying for God to put someone special in your path!

     
  • At Tue May 20, 04:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too am a preacher's kid. I moved alot as a kid and since I have been married (19 years), I have moved 22 times.

    I am so familiar with this feeling. My kids are teens now, so in a weird way i have had more time this go around, but when they were younger and i was a SAHM, I found that I gravitated towards thoughts that weren't uplifting. I think having girlfriends helps you to keep your thoughts and actions on the up and up. It is SO difficult to make yourself go to things such as ladies night out, or ladies class, but make yourself go. Make yourself go to ladies class and ladies activities. Those of us that go need to look out for ladies "on the fringe". Having been on of those, I know how nice it is for people to make an effort.

    Karise

     
  • At Wed May 21, 06:29:00 AM, Blogger GraceSaves said…

    It may be suprising for you to hear that I too am still going through this. Here I am, having lived in Waco for nearly a year, and still don't hang out with anyone other than my Sister in law's and my hubby. I mean, my sister in laws are great, but seriously, they're 17, 12, and 9.

    Ah well, we'll see what I can do to remedy this situation. I've really never been one to be really shy...:-/

     
  • At Wed May 21, 08:48:00 AM, Blogger Sarah P said…

    I'm with you. I love working from home but it is isolating at times. I love the freedom it provides but I think I underestimated the joy there is in casual office banter and having a story to tell from the day. Now that I'm huge pregnant it's even more difficult because even a walk around the block is almost more than my tiny, squished lung capacity can handle. I still don't think I'd give up my optional afternoon nap and working in bare feet... But contact with the outside world is a fabulous thing from time to time.

     
  • At Wed May 21, 10:06:00 AM, Blogger Carol said…

    I know what you mean. You know I had a hard time at first here. It's hard to make friends when you are constantly interrupted by, "Mommy!!" A couple of years ago I started praying consistently for a community of Christian girlfriends in Waco. He gradually blessed me and continues to do so. You are an awesome friend & I know God will bless you!! I can't imagine someone not wanting to spend time with you. Let me know if you need references... HA!
    cp

     
  • At Wed May 21, 01:32:00 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    It's funny how it is hard to get a true sense of someone's personality and life over the internet. Reading your blog, I pictured you to be a life-of-the-party kind of person, who has tons of close real life friends to party with every day. :)

    We moved to Texas 5 years ago now, and I still feel lonely as far as girl friends are concerned.

    I also have a bad habit of connecting more with my friends through Facebook, Myspace and email than anything else.

    Like you though, I recently made the resolution to step out of my comfort zone and get to know some new people in real life, starting this summer.

    Thank you for your post. :) It's good to know we're not alone in feeling alone sometimes.

     
  • At Wed May 21, 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Leecy said…

    Can you take a quick summer vacation by yourself to Boston??

    :-)

     
  • At Fri May 23, 03:45:00 PM, Blogger Blogging by Tina said…

    I fear I'm similar to you. Although I love my sister group, we will be disbanding for the summer. And the closest member lives about 20-25 minutes away from me.

    And I live in a cul-de-sac where we are LITERALLY the only ones who speak English.

     
  • At Sat May 24, 11:34:00 AM, Blogger SG said…

    I don't know why but it seemed easier to make friends when i just had one child and all the peopl eI hung out with had just 1 or 2 all pre-school age. I thought when my kids started school I would have more friend time but the opposite has been true. Besides that I have a lot of family around which is great. They built in friends so i haven't had to pt myself out there as much...which means I haven't made as many good outside of family friends. I too hope to do better at that. I need to be a closer better friend.

     
  • At Sun May 25, 07:49:00 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    So know what you mean! One of my best friends (someone I met online, who lives 5 hours away, but we've done "sisterchick" weekends for the past 10 years) and I came up with lists of 40 things we wanted to do by the time we were 40 . . . one of mine was make some good girlfriends that were LOCAL. I'm slowly but surely doing that. But it's so much harder than it was as a child/teen.

    I'm so bad about contacting friends -- I get caught up in whatever's going on here and just don't make time for those I should. Speaking of that-- I wanted to get down to Waco to give that new baby some loving, and I fell off the face of the earth! Will have to email Carol about that. . .

     
  • At Sun May 25, 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    Heather, I would love for you to come to Waco! Name the day, bring the kids and we'll talk about 'the good ole days'... and you can admire my sweet baby!

     

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