Reasons, Seasons, and Lifetime of Friendships

ash erin and meYou may have read this poem along the way, or variations of it. {Found here.} Honestly, until my 30’s, ahhh-hem… mid-thirties, I never realized how true it was. The basic premise is that friends come into our life for a reason {to meet a current need or struggle and when it’s resolved you go on your merry way}, a season {a very real friendship but may span only a few years because it has run it’s course}, or a lifetime {the most rare form, a never-ending friendship}.

Just a cursory glance through my Facebook “friend” list, and I can see how true that is. I definitely have a my “reason” friends, those who helped me through infertility and my daughter’s heart surgery. I am FOREVER grateful for them for sharing their invaluable wisdom and loving me during that time.

I have even more “season” friends — those who I love and still care deeply about, but for some reason or another, we’re not in touch much anymore.

And if I am being completely transparent, my “lifetime” list is pretty sparse. I can probably count on 2 hands the number I can truly say are forever friends.

Years ago, that may have bothered me. The girl who thought her social calendar should always be full, the need to be surrounded by “friends” for a sense of value. But now, I feel so grateful that I have my lifetime friends. We have cried together, weathered every type of possible storm, hysterically laughed over inane things, shared births, mourned deaths, loved on, cooked for, called regularly, and everything in between. I would not be the woman, the mom, the wife, or the friend that I am today without these amazing ladies. They span the time horizon from preschool and diapers, through high school, into college, and now into this journey of mommyhood.

Yet, the other part of me still mourns the friends that were here for a reason or a season. Sometimes it’s hard to see it that way. I’m highly emotional and sensitive {go figure} so when a friendship drifts away for one reason or another, I take it hard. Like I analyze everything that happened, what I did wrong, what I could have done to save the friendship. Thankfully, {except for that one time,  ha!}, friendships rarely “break up” Real Housewives-style with a full blown tantrum from grown women. They ebb, flow, then eventually slowly move away. I’ve found that it’s okay to grieve the loss of these friendships. After all, you did life together, you created memories, and shared dreams. It can be hard to accept that sometimes it’s for the best. You may be in different stages of life, geographically separated, or simply busy with everything that’s happening in your “mom journey.”

And that sometimes can be the crux of it. Our Mom stage is highly rewarding but VERY busy and all-out time consuming. Priorities shift. I am absolutely the first to admit that late at night, after the children are in bed, sometimes I just want to zone in front of Bravo and those epic Real Housewife battles. It does take effort to pick up the phone, send that email, or write that note. I’d love to schedule playdates every day with my girlfriends, but sometimes the grocery store and a zillion errands take priority. Mommy Night Out is my saving grace, but with colliding schedules it can almost take an act of congress to get one scheduled. So suddenly, now it’s been a month since I’ve seen my BFF, who lives all of 7 minutes away from me.

Being a mom has made me realize how important my girlfriends are to me. I depend on them for so much in this relatively new stage of life. I need their advice, crave their company, and desire their support. And I want to be that friend to them as well. I fail all too often.

To my “reason” and “season” friends, know this :: I am ever so grateful for you. The purpose of our friendship may have faded away, but I have learned so much from you and know that you were in my life for a specific purpose.

To my “lifetime” friends :: I couldn’t do life without you. Please know that I love you. Please know that I want to be a better friend. You have enriched my life in a million different ways.

 

So what do you think? Have you experienced the mourning that comes with “season” or “reason” friendships? What do your “lifetime” friends mean to you?

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