Make new friends, but keep the old / One is silver and the other gold. — Girl Scout Song
Growing up, the Bennett house down the street was like a second home. Terri was a year ahead of me in school, Danny a year behind my brother Kevin. And since ours were the first houses built in a new subdivision development, we found each other quickly. When we got older, the boys would dismantle and rebuild computers together, and Terri and I founded an earring company and would spend afternoons building a Caboodle full of inventory. Our hours together was mostly unstructured, figure-out-a-way-to-entertain-yourselves time.
I love how that early neighborhood friendship is still a part of my life, and now I’m seeing those goofy giddy bonds forming with my kids. We’re fortunate to have a good crew of families within a few blocks who swap kids around for dinners and impromptu playtime. It feels so good to fling open the doors in the spring weather and see who’s walking down the street. Eileen’s girl gang is shaping up.
I’ve noticed this year that I’ve been much more intentional about checking in with my friends and making time to be together. And it’s making me so happy. Sometimes I go through periods of feeling isolated, or disconnected, but it’s often when I forget that friendship is a two-way street and I’ve put obstacles in my lane.
A magical getaway full of laughter in Florida with my high school girlfriends happened over spring break, and now I’ve finally booked a weekend with my college besties at this sweet KC-area spa.
It’s blowing my mind to think that I’ve been in Des Moines four times longer now than I was in high school and college (!!!!) and there are women here who have known me ever since. I’ve kept up with my “Book It” book club, many of whom I met through the East Village stationery + more shop Ephemera in our early 20s. I write those club nights on my calendar in permanent marker.
I’m pretty terrible at remembering and celebrating birthdays, so I’m trying to just let people know that I’m thinking of them in an un-calendared way. Sometimes it’s a quick check-in text with a long-distance friend, an I-have-8-minutes-to-chat-while-I-walk-the-dog call, a Marco Polo message or even a quick, handwritten note.
Making friends as an adult can be hard, but I started reaching out to a few women who have been in my “orbit” of kids/work but who I didn’t really feel like I knew one-on-one, and have had breakfast with them after drop-off and before work. It’s been such an energizing way to start the day.
All of these little touch points — some inspired by my kids new friendships — are making me more fully appreciate the beautiful field of friends that I have sown and whose tending is such a joy.
How do you stay friends?