Tuesday, October 15, 2013

childhood friends

Dear Em,
Growing up as a Navy Brat, it was hard to develop long term childhood friends. I'm sometimes a little jealous that your daddy is still friends with kids he's known since kindergarten. He & his best friend basically grew up together. I don't even know know one person I went to kindergarten with, which isn't really surprising because I think I attended kindergarten at three different school systems.

Before moving to Rhode Island, Connecticut was the state I lived in for the longest. I was in the same school system from third grade through the end of my sophomore year in high school. I may not have known people since kindergarten, but I finally had the chance to grow up with people. We ran around playgrounds together. We wore awkward clothing together. We stayed up all night at sleepovers together.

But then my family moved.

I started all over in a new state & new school system my junior year of high school. It was hard at first, but I made some really amazing new friends. If it hadn't been for one of those friends, I would have never toured URI on New Jersey day. I wouldn't have fallen in love with the campus or met your daddy or had you. So, I'm thankful that my family made that move, because it led me to you.

Still, it's sometimes a bummer for me that I didn't graduate with my high school class in Connecticut. I didn't get to go to prom with all my best girlfriends. I didn't get to finish my senior year on a cheerleading squad with the girls I had first begun cheerleading with. I didn't get to paint one of the school bricks in our school hallways. I didn't get my friends to sign my very last yearbook, you know, the friends that I had truly grown up with. I didn't get to do the things that we had grown up together dreaming about. And as much as we tried to write letters & call on occasion in the first years (back then snail mail & expensive long distance phone calls were our only options), I mostly lost touch with all my best friends from childhood.

That was one of the amazing things about moving back to Rhode Island. I was able to reconnect with many of my childhood friends. We share our lives via facebook & sometimes text conversations, & we've been able to get together too. The past few years some of us have gotten together annually with our kids in tow. This year four of us met with our five kids at Buttonwood farm for fall fun.

There was a giant corn pit.

There were cow rides.

There was a corn maze that we let you littles lead us through.

But I think the child favorite was the large tower of hay bales.

My favorite was catching up with friends & watching our littles interact & play together. It's so crazy to me that we're all grown up (I mean I thought I was all grown up in sixth grade & we ruled the school, but I guess I still had a little growing to do). My childhood girlfriends have become beautiful women with such sweet families. Our conversations have drastically changed since our childhood days. Back then it was how to sneak in a game of tag on the playground even when we weren't supposed to, which boys we were crushing on (a lot of our middle school/high school conversations seemed to center around this), secrets codes only we could understand, how we were going to pass certain tests, & how lame our parents could be (another common middle school/high school topic). We're now worried about some of the same things that our parents had worried about when we were sure that our parents would never understand us. I think one of my favorite lines was "I hated myself as a teenager." This was said as we were talking about how one day you all would be teens & how we all kind of dread it, knowing how difficult we had been during those years. Sigh.

I'm so thankful for my childhood friends. There's something kind of magical about spending time with the people who know where you come from. I love having people I can reminisce with about the enchanted & awkward days of our childhoods. It may sound so simple, but it's something I never thought I would have.

I hope we're able to keep getting together, with or without our littles in tow. I hope we'll continue to talk about our pasts & share our new beginnings. Maybe their kids will become your childhood friends too. Just go easy on your parents! I promise. We're not as lame as you'll think.

I love you so,

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