Enjoying a lifetime of friendship
The thing I remember most about that day is feeling so grown up. My legs dangled over the water, pant legs rolled to the knees, as David and I sat in the comfortable quiet that comes from knowing someone your whole life. It was a hot summer day; it was just the two of us and our fishing poles; and I had just turned 4 years old.
We had fashioned fishing poles out of sticks. The water was dirty runoff from an afternoon thundershower. The “fish” were dried leaves floating carelessly by as we sat on the curb and earnestly tried to catch our limit. And that’s it, really. There was nothing profound that happened that day beyond two young friends spending time together. Nothing that should make the day stand out in my mind, other than the fact I felt so grown up. Maybe it was that we had concocted the whole scene ourselves with no help from the grown-ups; or maybe it was the quiet way we sat beside each other; or maybe it was that we had moved just out of the line of sight from David’s kitchen window where his mom, Marilyn, couldn’t see us.
Fast forward a few decades to last weekend when I sat on my porch relaying that story to Marilyn ” one of dozens of memories I have growing up across the street from her. She and my mom met on Washington Street, young moms in their 20s, now grandmas and great friends.
What a gift to have friendship span a lifetime. To have a family that we have known and loved through four decades, not a family we are obliged to love thanks to bloodlines, but a family that God magnanimously dropped in the house across the street and said, “Here you go. Take care of each other.” It is a rare offering, indeed.
It occurs to me that the friends I made in my 20s and 30s, those magnificent neighbors and fellow moms, may well be visiting on the future porches of my own children.
I have a sudden flash of myself, 70 and gray-haired, sitting in the kitchen of one of the gaggle of girls who frequented my house growing up. It would be an honor to know them as young women, as middle-aged mothers, as graying empty-nesters. I’m grateful for the variety of influences my children get in my friends’ homes. There may be things I would do differently or ” dare I say it? ” may not even approve of. But then I realize their influence goes beyond a particular TV show or letting them stay up too late.
I can’t presume to know what my kids will remember about the long summer days growing up in our neighborhood: flashlight tag? fort building? bear hunting? But for their own sake, I hope they have stories to tell on their own front porches with at least one gray-haired grandma who remembers them from way back when.
Charla Belinski’s column appears every other Sunday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Contact her at email@example.com.
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