I was eight when my family completely unraveled before my eyes.
Not with divorce, although sadly, throughout my childhood I did wish countless times they would put us all out of our misery and go their separate ways.
I woke up one day, and my mom wasn’t home.
“When is mommy coming back?” I asked.
“Mommy is sick, and she had to go to the hospital to get better.”
My stomach turned.
My father is a chiropractor and believes very strongly in natural therapies and eastern medicine.
I never remember going to the doctor as a child.
But I had seen movies, and the hospital is where you go right before you die.
Is my mommy dying?
“What’s wrong with her?” I would ask through tears of confusion and fear.
No one ever gave me a straight answer.
They danced around my questions awkwardly, and I knew something very serious was wrong.
I couldn’t figure out why it was all such a secret, and at the age of eight I became very angry and frustrated with virtually everyone in my life.
I couldn’t see that they were trying to protect me from the cruel reality of her illness.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later, my oldest sister blurted out to me that my mother had actually been suicidal.
Her illness was a personality disorder, eating disorder and severe depression…a bunch of things that no elementary schooler really understands.
I was devastated.
Suicide meant that she wanted to die.
Suicide meant that she felt she had nothing worth living for.
Suicide meant she didn’t love me enough to fight.
I didn’t realize that in reality, her children were all she really had to live for.
I couldn’t see that it wasn’t really 100% her choice to feel the way she did.
That life had simply gotten to be too much for her, and she needed help.
I didn’t know all the horrific things she had been through over the course of her life that had added up to her breaking point.
I didn’t know any of that, and so from that day on, I felt that I couldn’t really trust anyone, because even my own mother didn’t love me.
I became very withdrawn and detached from people.
I was very good at surface relationships.
Smiling, laughing, never letting people close enough to hurt me.
Never being honest about my pain.
Never letting people past the walls guarding my heart.
I was good at faking that everything was fine,
My siblings and I all seemed to master it.
No one knew what was going on behind closed doors, the stress and the drama and the anguish.
It effected every friendship I ever had.
And as I grew older, it’s rippling continued to touch my life.
I wasn’t very good at keeping friends, and the slightest rejection crippled my self-esteem.
I always felt like an outsider, no matter where I was.
Being home schooled didn’t help making me feel more included or normal.
I begged and pleaded with my parents to send me to public school, but it wasn’t until high school they finally gave in.
And kids will be kids, mean and insecure, and all I wanted was for people to like me.
But that really didn’t happen like I hoped.
Their cruelty continued to hurt me, as friend after friend slipped through my fingers.
I became a mom so young.
When all my friends were worrying about homecoming dances and football games, I was planning a baby shower.
Even now after all I have been through, most people I know are either single and childless, or if they do have kids are more concerned about dates and partying than being parents.
The few I have found whose family is top priority are much older than me.
Although I don’t mind the age difference, they always seem to feel weird around someone as young as me.
I hate that I haven’t really found my niche yet.
I wonder if people realize how lucky they are to have best friends in their lives.
There was a time I had “my girls,” but as your priorities change it becomes harder and harder to maintain high school relationships.
It becomes harder and harder to find common ground.
Sometimes, to be the woman you want to be, you have to let go of people who aren’t necessarily bad for you, but who aren’t motivating and encouraging you to become all that you can be.
And so one by one my group seemed to slip away.
And now, I’m lonely.
Yes, I have a wonderful husband who gives me the world and works harder than anyone I have ever met to be there for his family, to be a man of God.
But being married doesn’t fill every need;
And I really just miss having girlfriends sometimes.
I look back at photos and the shadows of my past.
The smiles and memories of friendships whose time passed long ago.
Many moved away.
Many of us grew apart.
No ones fault really, it just happened,
But I miss those nights of girl talk and giggles and having someone to share your laughter and pain.
I miss shopping without strollers and trying on clothes just for fun.
I miss the feeling of belonging.
My sisters have been a part if my life always, and they always will be.
Even though they are so precious to me, both my big sisters live too far away to really be a part of my every day life though.
We cant go work out together, take a dance class just for fun, or take our kids to the park ju because its nice out.
I just want a friend.
One who knows what I’m going through.
Someone who can relate to me.
Someone to just hear me.
My oldest sister’s recent blog post left me reflecting on myself and my emotions.
One of my all-time favorite television series is “Friends.”
Part of why I always loved it so much isn’t just about the crazy humor and lovable characters, although they were a huge part of it.
It was the amazing closeness they all shared.
They were family because of something besides blood.
The fact that they were inseparable and a part of each others every day everything that was so beautiful.
I want that so badly.
Is that so wrong?
No one really wants to be alone.
I just want a friend who isn’t going to move to California or Texas or some other far away place when I need them the most.
They say in your lonely seasons, that God is trying to teach you something.
So right now, I am working on myself.
I’m becoming a better woman, wife and mother.
But there comes a time when you just want someone to tell besides your twitter feed the funny stories of your day.
When you have some good news you want to share and get a squeal of excitement, not just a “like” on your status.
Don’t get me wrong all my Internet friends I love you all to death, but there is a desire in all of us to have something deeper than virtual reality.
Coffee. Lunch. A hug for goodness sake!
I know someday I will find true friendships again.
Rekindle old ones, make some new ones, I’m fine with whatever!
Until that happens I guess all I can do is work with what I have, me and my hubby and kids.
If you want to have a good friend, you must first learn to be a good friend.
Words to live by?
I think so.