Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Silver and Gold

I was a Girl Scout for two years. I hated almost every minute of it, although I wanted very much to enjoy it. I liked the idea of being part of a group. It was such an attractive notion - a ready-made group of friends banding together to learn new things! I was so disappointed when it turned out to be the same girls acting the same way they always did. I remember one outing in particular. We'd gone on one of those woodsy circuit training trails where you hike a bit, then walk on a balance beam made from a fallen tree, hike a bit more, then swing on a trapeze fashioned to look like a vine, and so on. It was excruciating for my bookish, clumsy self. Afterward, we were lounging around in a little meadow when one of us (Hope? How can I remember that it was Hope after all these years?) found a fairy ring of mushrooms. We marked the occasion by singing Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. Not long after that, I quit the group. Since we were military kids, we scattered. I have no idea where those girls are now. I went on to make and leave new friends. My high school friends have scattered. My college friends have scattered. And each time, I just let them go because there were always new people and new adventures. Who needs to hold onto friendships when there are so many interesting people in the world? On Sunday, I had a reunion of sorts with friends that I have let go. I was surprised by how good it felt to see them again. They grinned at me, embraced me, and let it be known that I was sorely missed. They recounted the last time they had seen me 5, 6, 7 years ago. I rediscovered Brian's kooky sense of humor, Jennifer's easy-going acceptance, Shean's covert wit. Part of that is because I'm Nick's wife, I suspect. Nick is loyal and social and all the things I am not. That part is smaller than I previously believed, however. These people know me and like me no matter how rarely I see them. And then I have my newest friends, friends who know me and like me. Friends who encourage me and pester me if I leave them alone for too long. Friends who point out the obvious with humor and patience. I require a lot of humor and patience, I suspect. I am finally beginning to realize that if ever I am lonely, it is because I choose to be. There are many, many people who have space for me in their lives.

5 comments:

Karen said...

I was in girl scouts for a lot longer and I didn't move around, but the rest of your post fits me. I do have some contact or know how to contact a couple of friends from my early childhood. But for the most part I am a loner. Aaron is the social one. And I'm fine with that.

Heatherly said...

I can totally relate to that. :)

Laura said...

I'm the social one in our relationship - so I won't ever LET you drop out of this friendship. I'll keep bugging you until you respond. Ask my friend Jen from high school - she hasn't written back in like 5 years, but I still send a Christmas card every year. I'm persistent.

Katie said...

Ooh, can I be one of the pesterers?

cheribear said...

so funny that I came to this blog for no other purpose than to pester you and say I miss you - haven't seen you for a couple days and its already bugging me. And so to make myself feel better, I need to bug YOU.