Best Friends and Change

I just got back to VT after spending a week down south visiting family (and seeing my little sister in the roller derby!) and then over to New Hampshire for the weekend to see two of my dearest friends. And now I’m back home experiencing a very deep and profound existential loneliness.

My two New Hampshire friends have an idyllic life. They have sheep–two mommas and three babies (Una, Dos, and Tres.) While I was there, I watched one of the pigs on the property give birth to several little piglets. They make their own bread and cheese and yogurt and icecream. They eat vegetables from their garden. Their home is beautiful and their neighbors are kind and generous. They are doing work that they enjoy and are building a life together that is somehow both near perfect and completely unpretentious.

It’s a life that anyone would be happy to be living. Except me. The whole visit I felt this angry, jealous, passionate little child in me rearing up in a most unseemly way. The thing is, while they are off there building their new little kingdom, the rest of us are kind of left behind. OK, let’s be clear. I’m left behind. I realized that the friendship I had with one of them in particular just doesn’t exist anymore in the same way. She’s grown up past me somehow, and has less room for other intimacies now, anyway.

It’s not that I’m jealous of her lover. It’s just that I didn’t realize that being with someone full-time, long-term, monogamously, meant that you are, you know, WITH someone full-time, long-term, monogamously. They just work together as a team. They do the meaningful things in their lives together. They discuss everything and as a result often have the same opinions. They make joint decisions and are moving with a common purpose. It’s all very beautiful. And I feel lonely and left out.

And I feel guilty for feeling all of this, and also very confused. Since childhood I’ve had these very intense, passionate friendships. Mostly with girls. And it’s not a romantic thing, though I have identified as a lesbian since I was a teen. But watching these friends together, together, I feel so very confused. I thought that I wanted what they have. A home, a partner, stability, love, beauty. And I realized that I don’t.

I want friends. That’s all. I want best friends of all sizes and ilks. I want people to share all the different pieces that are in my heart. I want to love them and for them to love me and other people. And I want none of them to ever grow up ever or get married or go off and become one of two. OK?

But seriously, I think that friendships are really important and are given short-shrift in a society that values marriage and monogamy and hollywood romance above all else. For kids especially who are separated from their family and in the foster care system, or who live in homes where the parents are absent or broken or neglectful or abusive, or who have suffered the loss of people important to them, friends are lifesavers. Friends are way more important than I can explain in a silly blog post.

But here are my favorite stories with wonderful friendships.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe
  • Beaches
  • Anne of Green Gables

 What are yours?

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About pamwatts

Writer, Reader, and Children's advocate
This entry was posted in Book Lists, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Best Friends and Change

  1. Kathy Quimby says:

    I think friends are important for everyone, although I can see where they would be additionally important for kids in abusive or withholding families. Honestly, I sometimes wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t had a loving immediately family, because I seldom had more than one very good friend as a child and those friends tended to move away. Frequently.

    That’s probably why I valued stories about friendship so much. My favorites:
    Anne of Greene Gables
    Harriet the Spy (Sport didn’t always stick by her, but mostly he did)
    Little Women (Jo and Laurie until it all went wrong)
    The Betsy-Tacy Stories. I only discovered them when my daughter was the right age, though.

    It’s interesting that only now do I notice that half of these had to do with boy-girl friendships. I did have those kinds of relationships, too. Still do, in fact.

  2. craftbition says:

    That was an interesting post Pam. I still am not sure what i want out of life yet myself.
    Other fun friendship tales… Firefly! Also I recall getting a kick out of the James Herriot/Siegfried friendship stories back when I wanted to be a vet. Oh and how about the Wizard of Oz (and Return to Oz)? Books and films both.

  3. pamwatts says:

    Also, Bridge to Terabithia, I guess. Oh, and the hounddog and momma cat in The Underneath.

  4. pamwatts says:

    Anne Westrick tried to post a comment but couldn’t for some reason. So here is her comment:

    Pam – The passion in your post draws me in. I love your honesty in writing this. Thank you. Good point about the way friendships bolster kids whose families aren’t there for them. Although you say this is a “silly blog post,” let me tell you — your posts are not silly. You always make me think.

    Thanks Anne!

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