My sons don't have friends. Okay, that's not entirely true. They have friends, but they don't have FRIENDS, not in the real sense of the word, not in what I perceive to be the real sense of the word. What they each have is a bunch of a-little-friendlier-than-friendly-acquaintance type friends, friends who they know through school or soccer or the performing arts studio they've gone to for the past four years, occasionally talk to on the phone, once in awhile see out of the usual setting, and nothing more.
And it hurts my heart.
My whole life, I've had super-close friends. I lived in Chicago up until I was eight, and while I was there, I had Danielle. Danielle, my sister, and I were together almost every weekend, and when we weren't together, we were on the phone (we called each other so much that even now, twenty-nine years later, I remember her phone number--764-7244 in case you're curious). And, yes, our friendship still stands today.
I lived in Coral Springs for a little over a year, and in the short time I was there, I became really close friends with Tracy--so close, in fact, that there was quite a bit of dry humping going on at our sleepovers, but this is neither the time nor the place for that discussion.
When I was nine, I moved to Miramar, and it wasn't long until Jessica and I found each other. From the time I started AC Perry during spring break of fourth grade until middle school began, we were pretty much inseparable. Along with Jessica, I became really close friends with Minh and Chris, too. When middle school started and we were placed in separate classes, I pretty much lost contact with Chris and Jessica (regarding Jessica, I must tell you that having different classes wasn't the only cause of our friendship's demise. Her mother HATED me--and when I scream hated in all caps, I'm not just whistling Dixie--the woman hated me so much that she warned multiple friends' parents that their children should not only slow down and proceed with caution where I was concerned, but they should advise their children to run away screaming when I approached--and no, I'm not kidding. I wish I was). During this time, Minh became my main friend. We had all of our classes together, and almost every day, we went to either my house or her house after school. We were extremely close until I misguidedly told her that she walked like a penguin and she gave me the heave ho. At that point, Samantha assumed the role of Kel's best friend; it was a short-lived role, but while it lasted, we spent a great deal of time together.
In seventh grade, Chris and I were reunited through our schedules, and we quickly went back to the way we had been in elementary school. From seventh grade until she went to college, we were as close as two people who don't have sex can be. There was nothing I didn't tell her and nothing she didn't tell me. In middle school, we were together before school, after school, and on the weekends. We spent our summer days and nights together. In high school, after she moved to Davie, we had a routine in which she spent the night at my house on Friday nights and I spent the night at her house on Saturdays. Her going to college was one of the saddest things I've ever experienced. Ever.
Although Chris and I were always together, she was by no means my only friend. In middle school, we had a "group," and that group consisted of Chris, Hope, Mary, and me, and one person from the group was always with another one or talking to one on the phone. I seriously cannot imagine my life without the friends I had in seventh grade. I wouldn't want to.
When Chris went to college, Marnie came along, and the same things I wrote about Chris and me could be said for Marnie. By now, you know the drill: we were always together, we slept at each other's houses all the time, and we shared everything two people who don't have sex can share. This went on for three years until she moved to Chicago (at which point she fell in love with a pastor, became some type of fundamentalist, and apparently decided it wasn't in her best interest to associate with a heathen like me. Thanks a heap, Marnie).
Enter Erin. I won't bore you with the same details I've already bored you with over and over, but suffice it to say that Erin and I were close. We worked together. We lived together. We did everything together. Everything.
It wasn't my intention to ramble, but I see that I have. Let me just apologize in advance because I'm about to do it some more.
As I've made very apparent--sorry about the dead horse--I've never not had a close friend. As I've gotten older, my time has gotten scarce, and my close friendships have gotten different, but I still have them. In my opinion, a life without close friends just isn't complete.
Each and every friend I mentioned had a significant role in my life, especially the friends that I had from seventh grade on. I never felt lonely when I was young;one of my friends was always around. I always--always--had somebody who I could talk to, who I could cry to, who I could laugh with. I always--always--felt like I was a part of something. And now, looking back, I know that I was. I can't begin to tell you how much having close friends has enriched my life.
And my sons don't have any.
They don't have anybody whom they can tell every little mundane detail of their day; whom they can tell every sick, twisted thought that crosses their mind; whom they can talk to about the girl they like, the teacher they hate, or the fight they just had with one another. They don't have anyone with whom they can just be.
It's a fundamental part of growing up that they're both lacking, and it's one of the saddest things I can think of.
A week or two ago, we watched The Goonies for family movie night, and in the middle of it, Griffin said, I wish I had friends like that.
I wish you did, too, Griffin. I wish you did, too.