When you’re younger you don’t think much about the worth of your friends, but once you hit a certain age everything is put into perspective. In the last year, I’ve been reminded multiple times how precious these relationships are.
Like most of us, I had the pleasure of orthodontic treatment growing up. I was lucky to have an amazing orthodontist who actually made treatment enjoyable. (Which is really quite the compliment, considering I wore headgear.) When I first started out it was a very small practice, just he and his wife, but had grown rapidly by the time I finished treatment.
I have fond memories of my appointments and level of personalized care I received. I believe it was because of my maiden name (Gurgens, pronounced like Jergens lotion) that we somehow started discussing genealogy, and found out that the wife was also of Lithuanian descent. From that point on, we had a unique relationship and it was a sad day when those monthly appointments came to an end.
Twenty-some years later, we were coincidentally reunited. From that point on, we began texting each other regularly, determined not to lose touch again. When we returned to Illinois to throw a retirement party for my mother, they jumped at the chance to help us make it amazing for her. We had a wonderful time together, and they have become two special people in my life.
My children adore them, and it’s been so much fun getting to know them beyond a professional level. I know if I ever needed anything, they would be two people right there for me. We continue to keep in touch, sharing silly stories and pictures with each other on a regular basis. To some, this friendship may be a bit unorthodox, but it works for us. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to reconnect with them, and cannot even begin to describe how much their support and encouragement means to me.
The College Friend
After graduating college, a friend of mine moved to the same city I was in for medical school. Despite her demanding schedule, we would meet up once a month for dinner or pedicures. Less than a year after she graduated and moved to complete her residency, I moved to Texas. Our monthly ‘dates’ were no more, though we continued to text frequently. Whenever I would return to town we would find a way to get together, and after she completed residency she flew down to visit me for a few days.
Although I was pregnant with the twins and fairly sick, we made the most of our time together. Once the twins were born, my life was crazy and exhausting leaving little time for socializing. Of course, her life was pretty busy too. We both moved two more times, making it even more difficult to coordinate a time and place to meet. Somehow, however, the stars aligned…
She flew down to visit recently, meeting the twins for the first time. It was nerve-wracking for me because even though we stayed in contact, it had been over three and a half years since we last saw each other. Thankfully, time was irrelevant. We picked up right where we left off like not a day had passed by.
It was the most wonderful few days I’d had in a long time. She was perfectly content lounging around my house with me and the crew. We both had our spots on the couch where we’d cuddle up with the kids watching movies, playing games, and catching up on life. She even came with me to the twins three-year well-check to lend a hand, something I had no intention of asking her to do. Not many people would willingly do that during their ‘vacation.
My kids cried when she left and already miss her. Cami keeps telling me she wants ‘Miss Heather do me Anna’s hair,” because I can’t braid hair anywhere near as well.
I’m not going to lie, I miss her too. When she left we promised that we wouldn’t wait another three years to get together again.
It’s amazing how important friendships that have been pushed to the side can mean. They can be just what you need at any given time when you don’t even know that you need it. I’m determined not to let distance get in the way of relationships again. You can always make new friends, but it’s those old friendships that mean the most. Those are the people that know the most about you, whether you like it or not. And, those are the friendships that ultimately mean the most in life.
I encourage you to find time for people that are important. You never know what life holds. Cherish the special times you have together, and go the extra mile for those you care for – you never know just how much they may need you.