I was holding my breath when my 10 year old got into the car after visiting with her best friend Sophie in New York. The last time was horrendous. She sobbed. She yelled. She blamed me for every inequity in the world – including the fact that she was now 1,000 miles from her best friend.
But this time there was just quiet.
Me: Hey Dylan. How was the sleepover?
Me: Are you sad?
Dylan: Yes. I just feel different with Sophie than my Florida friends. I like my Florida friends but I just don’t feel as comfortable around them. With Sophie, things are just easy.
Me: You’re right Dylan. There is just something about the ease, comfort and familiarity of old friends.
Over Thanksgiving, I also saw some old friends (mostly from high school). And I even saw one friend that I hadn’t seen in 20 years. The day after Thanksgiving, my sister and I stopped by our old house in Wallingford, Connecticut.
I lived there from age 9 to 12. I really wanted to go in and look around but no one was home and breaking and entering is apparently still illegal. So I had to settle for peering into the windows.
As so often with childhood memories, the rooms seemed to have shrunken in size.
I looked into our old den and it seemed so recently that I sat on one of those net swings that were popular in the early 80’s while watching the newly debuted MTV. And as I looked at the yard, I remembered the day I dragged half of our furniture out of the house and onto the front lawn in an attempt to hold a tag sale to raise money for candy.
In fact, that’s just the kind of thing my daughter Dylan would do. Come up with some grand, creative idea that would invariably take a lot of manpower to clean up.
As we drove off from our old home, I decided to stop by another house… just two doors down where my friend Alysha used to live. A big smooth rock in the drive way still said her last name and I noticed a car sitting in the driveway.
My mother (who was with me) encouraged me to get out and say hello. As I walked down the driveway, I had a flashback to all the times, I played at this house – only returning to my house when the cartoons came on because I didn’t care for animation. I know. I was a strange kid.
I approached the car and sitting in the driver seat was my friend Alysha.
I reintroduced myself and a big smile spread across her face. And just like that I was talking to my old friend. She lives in Colorado but was home for the holidays. Had I heard about her car accident that had left her in a coma? Her dad had passed away. She was divorced. Life had happened. But she was doing well.
We said goodbye and promised to connect on social media.
Now here I was looking back at my 10 year old daughter as she sat with the sadness of saying goodbye to her best friend Sophie.
I told her that when Rick and I first left New York City and moved to Westchester (when Dylan was 4 and Summer 2) – I really knew almost no one. I’d see lots of moms everywhere but couldn’t figure out exactly how to meet any of them. Or once I met a few people, how to turn a quick greeting into a real friendship. It was pretty much a blur of yoga pants and tennis skirts.
But then one mom invited me to dinner and then I started hanging out with a few and eventually I realized that I had an incredible network of amazing women. I was creating a history with them.
And Dylan would one day do the same.
“Dylan, old friends are wonderful. And I have a feeling you and Sophie are going to be best friends for a very very long time. But you know what? Something really amazing can happen with new friends. Keep spending time with the ones you like and you’ll find that new friends can turn into old friends. It just takes a little bit of time.”
I’m not sure she knew what I was talking about. But someday she will.