Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's Left of a Friendship


In my current quest to get stuff done around the house, I hung up this crystal again. For years it hung in the southern sun porch window, and the kids would always delight in the rainbow colors it would throw onto the living room walls when the sunlight hit it just right. I don't even remember when I took it down, probably when the window cleaners came by last (that's also been a while), but it sat in a dish on my desk for a long time.

I put it back in its old place, namely the sun porch window facing my desk, where it sparkles in midst of the view of the apartment buildings beyond. For all its clear beauty, the crystal also carries a twinge for me as it is what's left of a long friendship. It was given to me by my oldest friend in the sense that our friendship reached the furthest back (we met when I was twelve and she fourteen). Sadly our friendship broke up when I had my third child, something she did not approve of. The good thing is that we did talk about it, about our different views and goals for life - she that she couldn't support a decision of mine that she thought was bad (in her opinion as a budding family therapist and longtime elementary school teacher she felt that three children were too much for a family), and I that I felt friendship entailed supporting a friend no matter what you ultimately thought of her decisions. In the end we agreed that we wanted to continue to stay in touch because our long history together was valuable to both of us, but sadly that did not happen. I sent her New Year's cards for a while after that, but did not hear back. Five years ago when I wase visiting the Badlands in South Dakota with my family (one of my favorite places in the world), I thought much about her as we had done that trip together many years prior to that, so I sent her a postcard. I never heard back either.

So the crystal is what remains, and many memories, of course. In fact, now that I think about it, I have two other things that she gave me, and they are also made of glass: a crystal cake platter she gave me for my wedding (we use it often), and iridescent dessert glasses of which I only have three left, so I hardly use them (the family is too big). Perhaps it is symbolic that what I have left of that friendship is glass - beautiful but oh so easily shattered.

12 comments:

  1. Gerade heute hat jemand zu mir gesagt: Jede Freundschaft hat ihre Zeit ... trotzdem traurig deine Geschichte. Ich teile deine Ansicht über Freunschaft und kann nicht nachvollziehen, dass sie tatsächlich wegen des dritten Kindes zerbrochen ist. Und bitter-trautig auch, dass sie dir nicht mehr geantwortet hat.

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    1. Barbara - traurig, ja, denn es haengt mir immer noch nach. Aber um so schoener, dass andere Freundschaften die Jahre und die Veraenderungen ueberdauern...

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  2. Hello Annette, I hope this post goes through. It'll be my third as I work through your posting process. I think I've hit upon the right mix. I wanted to say two things. First, I made a 2013 resolution to comment on five blogs a week as a way to get more familiar with this whole social media world. I have had your page bookmarked for quite some time now and today, of the many I've read, yours is the first that I feel moved enough to comment on. I'm saddened by your story of the loss of your long-time friend. I too have suffered such losses. But, I heard someone say once that "Friends are a reflection of the issues we are working on." I've taken that to heart. I love that you keep fond memories of your former friend and that the crystal brings light into your life, still. I look forward to checking in with you more often. Janet

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    1. Janet - thank you for your thoughtful words. I'm honored that my post moved you enough to comment. I think you are right in that some friends reflect certain issues in our lives, but there are friendships that last a lifetime and I always wonder what makes one friendship work like that and another peter out. I thought that the friendship I mentioned here would be a lifelong one but sadly, I was wrong.

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  3. Hi Annette! Another great post. I'm sorry for the loss of this friendship. It does seem strange to me that a real friend would need to "approve" or "disapprove" her friend's life decision, especially something so personal as to have a child. Ultimately I think this need to control others reflects a deep insecurity in the giver / taker of the approval. Glad you made the decisions right for you. Great insight about the friendship being like glass :)

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    1. Steph - thanks! There is definitely another layer to this story regarding the approval and insecurity issue.

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    2. Approval and insecurity issues are great fodder for writing.

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  4. Excellent post, Annette.

    It's sad that she would feel that way, that she'd end a friendship over a decision that wasn't hers in the first place.

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    1. William - thanks. Agree on the decision making part but alas, that's what it was.

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