I recently went to the wedding of one of my oldest friends. I’m not talking old as in elderly blue hair, I’m talking old as in decades long. We’ve been besties since we were 14 and that was – *gulp* – 21 years ago (no need to do the math, thank you). For those of you with old friends like this, the ones that started before you could (legally) drive, then you know how special they are.
I have the additional pleasure of having two old friends, which is actually just one friendship binding three of us. This dynamic is even more special because we have to balance multiple people / multiple crazies in one relationship. When I say “special,” I’m using a loose definition of the word special. I’ve seen Big Love, polygamy ain’t easy.
Old friendships are the best. You don’t have to pretend or guess or do anything but be yourselves. You accepted each other just as you are a long time ago, so there is no explaining because you already get it. Old friends know who you are but also who you were. They know all the things that have happened in your life that changed you, all the angels and all the skeletons. And you know that they will always be there, no matter what you do or how far apart you live.
Old friendships are also kind of the worst because they’re like a mini-marriages. Once you pass a certain threshold of friendship years, you become family and the relationship becomes permanent. Once you seal that deal, you have no choice but to weather the hard parts…which is essentially the definition of marriage.
You go through the same waves as marriage: you get the most beautiful example of human interaction and partnership, but it also requires work, patience, understanding, and commitment. You get all the good stuff: closeness, memories, love, laughter, and knowing each other so well. But you also get fights, predictability, irritation, butt-hurt feelings, and knowing each other obnoxiously well. You know so much about each other that you can’t get away with anything, they know what you’re going to do before you do it. Annoying! Stop reading my mind! Rude…
My two besties and I are all living our own lives now, separate and far away, so it seems it would be easy to disconnect. When you go down different paths and don’t talk everyday, it’s easy to temporarily forget the reason you signed up for this commitment in the first place. Like marriage, at some point you will probably think the phrase: “maybe we’ve just grown apart.” But like marriage, really letting go of that person is a big, BIG deal. This relationship is binding and that person is family. It’s forever, in sickness and health, in distance and closeness, till death do you part.
Now we are getting married (as in real life marriages to real life people) and having babies, so our family is growing. I see each of us opening our hearts without question to these new additions and they are automatically added into our mutual marriage. We come as a package so whoever marries one of us, marries all of us. Sorry dudes.
I know that our paths will continue to diverge. But the roots are there and the roots are deep. A little wind can’t knock us down; we’ll just bend, adjust, and stay upright. I know that when life throws something at me and I need them, my two old friends will be there. If someone pisses me off, watch out for my besties — angry mama bears protect our own.
So, while old friendships do come with unique challenges, I speak from experience that they are worth it. Old friends will always come home to each other, we will always be waiting, we will always be there. We are the lucky ones. I can’t wait to see what the next 21 years hold for my two besties and I. And the 21 years after that…
To close, on homage to a tradition that started when we were 21 and decided to take the below photo of us making our biggest smiles ever:
Oh what sweet little, round baby faces. Since then, we’ve taken this photo at every important occasion. It’s actually quite physically taxing and results in our necks being sore the next day. Every time. Here’s one taken of us last year:
You can guarantee that we’ll be taking this photo for the rest of our marriage. Love you girls!
Things They Forgot to Mention:
Old friendships, like marriages, require patience, love and commitment. If you’ve got those things, then you get the good stuff and that stuff is GOOD. Trust us.
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