I first noticed the fading after I gave birth to my son. A couple of friends of mine without children no longer seemed as interested in me as I was in them. I'd become a mom, a worrier, a helicopter buzzing around my baby. Perhaps because my free spirit was now connected to the precious life of my child, my soul's anchor, I was no longer as fun, I worried. As a singleton, I'd been accessible, as a married woman with a child, not as much. I was hurt. So I grieved for the dear friends who suddenly became acquaintances. There were others, of course, those who faded because of time away, years spent missing calls or not having time to make them, on both sides. Carrying on the friendships once had in youth no longer seems possible, and it isn't, because dynamics have changed.
Friendships change and warp, sometimes we lose those we loved, sometimes we're brought together again years later, maybe sometimes never. There's many reasons why, and sometimes I think there's no reason at all except time and growth. And I've come to accept this. I saw a quote on Facebook the other day that was rather poignant: "If you have to force it. Leave it. Relationships. Friendships. Yoga Poses. Perfect Pony Tails. Let That Shit Go." We can't hold onto them all for forever, nor do we always want to, I've learned.
It's the friendships that have braved the test of time, the ones who show up to your book signing on a rainy day with kids in tow, the one you can sit and have as much fun over a cup of coffee with as over a bottle of wine. And I have that. And I'm thankful.
So perhaps those friendships my readers love so much in my books is reminiscent of my youth, I do write YA/NA after all, so my characters are young, but I think it's also a reflection of what I've learned being a good friend truly means in the years since. Mutual respect, love, and laughter, and a willingness and desire to keep room in your heart and life for that person. <3
“Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.”
― Ally Condie, Matched