I actually preferred to move in the middle of the school year. It was easier coming in to a classroom once it was already established and having the teacher introduce me as the new kid instead of sitting in the middle somewhere, waiting for someone to ask me my name. Yes, I was that shy.
We had been in California for two years and I'd made some wonderful friends in junior high. My heat ached and I sobbed for days promising to write letters every week (which I did...for a while) and call when I can. My phone bill was astronomical back then.
The same thing happened when I moved to New Hampshire. I made wonderful, amazing friends whom I simply adore and have kept in contact with as well (thank you, Facebook!). I went to the same high school for three years and during that time I made a lot of friends. I had many different "groups" that I'd hang out with, still never feeling like a true part of an inner circle. My friends welcomed me into their circle but I lacked the past history that they had, the memories I'd come to hear about but never know from first hand experience.
The groups have come and gone, but the friendships that have stayed true, whether we physically see each other or not, are the friendships I had outside of groups. I met Karen on my first day at work. McDonalds. It's the classic first job, right. Here I was, the shy new girl fresh off the bus from California and this scrawny girl with big brown eyes and the sunniest disposition I'd ever seen welcomed me with open arms and trained me on the register, showed me how to make the fries. An instant bond was formed.
Karen and I didn't share our friendship with others. She had a group of friends she'd hang out with and I had my circle, but at the end of the day we had each other. I have more inside jokes, heartbreak stories, and song memories with her than with anyone.
I'm a year older than her and went off to college, four hours away. While I was in school my family moved back to California and I made my college town my new residence. I didn't see Karen for a few years but we reconnected when I got married, and visited a time or two after that. And then I started popping out babies, Karen traveled a lot for work, and life got in the way.
I hadn't seen her in fourteen years. Besides our annual Christmas card mailings and Facebook stalking, I hadn't seen Karen since I popped out my first child. I surprised her at her bridal shower a few weeks ago and we both started crying in each others' arms. After the shower, I went back to her house to spend some alone time with her and it was like the years didn't happen.
There are those who you may not see often, but their friendship, understanding, and humor can carry on for years and years. True friendships withstand time. Of course I'd rather see Karen more often--once every 14 years isn't going to cut it for me anymore--but I'm so thankful that she hasn't changed a bit. She still wears that big smile on her face, her heart is as generous as ever, and her laugh is contagious.
Here's to lasting friendships. And to beautiful brides.