An Ode to the Women Who Tolerate Us

23 Apr

Daisy and I were chatting today about friendship.

Well, not ours. We’re not friends; we’re heterosexual life partners.

We were talking about adult relationships with our childhood friends.

You see, Daisy and I each have one  friend who’s survived the murky waters of childhood, adolescence, those nasty teenage years, the rebellious post-high school mess, and adulthood. (Or, as Daisy puts it, “…friends since before I had hair on my twat.”) We call these two women, respectively, our best friends. And they are. But they almost weren’t.

Daisy’s Pre-Pube-Hair buddy surfaced in early elementary school. They went to middle school together, although she attended a different high school from Daisy and me. Even though this woman went to college several hundred miles away from Daisy, they maintained their friendship. Daisy confesses that their friendship endured some tumultuous times when their life paths drifted apart: Daisy jumped on the Weeds-esque suburban housewife train, while this woman pursued her education and then her career. Single and childless, she has made dramatically different life choices from Daisy.

My childhood BFF and I met in fifth grade. We played dolls together, took dance lessons together, and attended middle and high school together, only to part for undergrad. This woman has always been my “Jimminy Cricket,” so to speak. Unlike most people, I literally have an angel and a devil living on my shoulders, whispering suggestions into my ear. If Daisy is the devil, this woman is, and always was, the angel. I would skip school with Daisy during the day, then go to this girl’s house at night to cram for an AP exam. She and I are on similar life paths: we’re both wives and mothers, we have the same levels of education, and we’re in the same profession. In spite of all our commonalities, our friendship entered a decline.

Why does this happen, Daisy and I mused. How can we share so much history with these women, and harbor so much pure love for them, but not have the same quality of friendship we once shared? In Daisy’s case, she speculates that their diverging life plans kept them too preoccupied with different priorities to make time for one another. Between me and my Six Foot Conscience, we simply became too wrapped up in the day-to-day banalities of teaching, motherhood, and social obligations to remember to pick up the phone. These are simply excuses, and it doesn’t justify allowing our friendships to lapse like a magazine subscription you swear you’re going to renew.

Recent events have thrust these women back into our lives. Daisy and her friend have reconnected over – you guessed it – babies. This woman recently became an Auntie, and Daisy guided her through “What To Expect When Someone You Love Is Expecting.” The eternal expert on everything baby-related, this woman wisely turned to Daisy for information and guidance as she welcomed a new diaper-clad person in her life. My best friend and I had a bit of a spat, at the end of which we decided the only resolution was to make a commitment to one another to talk regularly (daily, if we could hack it with our conflicting schedules.) We realized that our friendship was in deep shit if we didn’t reach out to one another, and have upheld this bargain so far.

Daisy and I are learning how much work adult friendships are. Sure, fun-loving, personable girls such as Daisy and I have no problem making “friends” at work, play groups, or among other parents of children the same age as ours. But in a phase of life when one barely has time to take out the trash and scoop the litter box, do we really have the where-with-all to dedicate to new acquaintances? We agreed that it is crucial for us to nurture these respective friendships, if not for preserving their longevity, then because these women have loved us at our worst.

Tell us about how you’ve had to work to maintain important friendships in your life. We want to know we’re not curmudgeons. =]

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5 Responses to “An Ode to the Women Who Tolerate Us”

  1. "the Mayor" April 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Oh, ladies let me just tell you both PLEASE do not over think issues, friendships and life .. It happens whether you plan it or not and people often act like teenagers (and I hate saying this as I have the best teenage nieces and I do not want to insult them ) ………

    • daisyandviolet April 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      But Ma, that’s what we do…
      And don’t forget, I’m in so much therapy that I even spend my free time analyzing the shit out of everything! -Violet

  2. Jennifer Worrell April 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    My closest childhood friend and I met at 3 years old. We’ve been buddies since, although our different life paths have separated us. We’ve since reconnected over our babies. I think our childhood friendships change because WE change so much. Also, I’m much more coarse and foul-mouthed than they are…

    • daisyandviolet April 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      I know that feeling! I haven’t heard my Jimminy Cricket say “the eff word” in a decade or so. Me? I haven’t uttered it once in the past twenty minutes! RECORD!
      Thanks for fucking reading and commenting! -Violet
      (Oops. There that goes.)

      • Jennifer Worrell April 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

        It’s a cryin’ fuckin’ shame we’ve got to cuss so much…

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