Friend or friendship…that is the question. (is there a difference?)
Friend by definition is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. Typically exclusive of sexuality or family relation.
Friendship by definition is the emotions or conduct of friends ; the state of being friends.
It is true that we can not pick and choose our family but we certainly do such with friendships. Of course there are those few friendships that are formed through parents and even a spouse, but still we choose to keep them.
Family is fabulous and most times will always be there for you. (well they ought to be) Family likes to believe no one knows you better than they, but come on we all know that’s not true. The only thing family knows better than anyone else is who, what and why you are the person you are. Only family can fully understand our value wiring because they were wired the same way! The bond we create with friends are true and deep, friends are the ones we choose to confess what color our wires are.
Having someone to laugh with, cry with , be silly with, be crazy with and just be silent with is essential to the human spirit. Having that bond is as vital as consuming water.
When I was a child (many moons ago) life here in my neck of the woods was what I wish for every child. We didn’t have scheduled play dates. Friendships did not depend on the mothers getting along or having the time. We didn’t have electronic devices to keep in touch, we actually walked up to front doors and knocked. (and politely asked if Janie or Johnny could come out to play) We didn’t wait for the mother’s to clean the house, send her e-mails and troll Face Book, or for her socks to match her purse before chaffering us to a timed park event. We woke up did our chores and waved goodbye as mom reminded us that “so and so” from the next block would paddle our behind if we acted up! (paddle …I crack myself up, no I am not talking about Little House on the Prairie time, but it was a safer and less technology driven time where the village had a voice)
I did not dare utter the words “I’m bored”. To be honest not only would I get smacked upside the head and given enough chores to occupy my time, but I was never bored. During school months I would be sent out the door with a full belly, by the time I got to the end of my block I was joined by 8-10 of my friends on the way to school. We knew enough to go straight home after school to do a few chores and get the homework done in time for a game of man hunt (hide and seek) before dinner. School breaks and Summer was a glorious time. Excitement rose me with the sun. I either dug out hats, gloves and scarves or shorts, tank tops and flip-flops rushed through the chores and headed out for the day. My stomach dictated when it was time to show my face at my door or a neighbor’s door so they knew we were safe and when our names echoed through the neighborhood we knew it was dinner time. The street lights coming on informed us that it was time to gather on a stoop until one of the moms gave “the look”. Summer meant the fun didn’t end at dinner time ; it meant that chore money went on batteries for the flash light man hunt adventures! Now everything has to be scheduled and supervised. Parents have forgotten the value of childhood friends.
As adult, married with children and grandchildren , no one can ever come above or before God and my family but I value my friends and friendship so much more. I hope my boys value their friends and friendships. (I know my older boys never waited for my socks to match but my younger boy waits for other moms to send their e-mails!)
I have friendships, many friendships. The one that I can laugh for hours with. The one that understands what our crazy aging bodies are going through. The one that understands the mental anguish of the daily routine, The one that tells me the truth about not succeeding at hiding the middle age bulge but compliments me on trying. The one that will join in on my plots against the “20 something know it all’s”. The one that knows the right time to drag me out of the house for a cup of coffee and when to keep me out for a cocktail. The one that will come pick up my youngest child while secretly turning off my phone so I can recharge my patience . The one that speaks only the truth I need to hear. That one who is always on the sidelines shaking her pom pom’s cheering me on. That one who helps guide my path. That one who feels no envy but shares my joy. That one that our lives have taken a different path and when we do find the time to speak we pick up right where we left off. All of these friendships are vital to my existence, I need love and cherish them. But only a friend is all of these friendships rolled into one amazing person!