I am hoarder

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend....James Taylor

Last week was the week of catching up with old friends...not because they are old by age but because we have been friends for 27-37 years.   As I was having dinner with my 2 best friends last night I realized that I am a hoarder.  Not in the gross, there are dead mouse/rat carcasses in my house reality show way, but in the I tend to hold on to friends for a long time.  Now having said that I also want to add that it is a juggling act to hoard or maintain friendships...after all life with it's work, children, partners, spouses, lovers, other friends, and a variety of nasty things will make sure it steps in between you and friendships.   I mean it would be nice if we could devote our lives to pleasurable times but let's face it the friendships that I define as close are those that were shaped by the way we supported one another in times of deep emotional turmoil.

Maybe it is because I am an only child...oh I so easily roll my eyes at that definition and have such fun letting people believe the stereotype.  However, as will all myths there is always some truth baked in it.  Those of us who are only children do seem to work really hard at friendships...sometimes even at the expense of our families.  I have had to give many an apology in my life to my parents for leaving them, not doing something with them, choosing another activity over one with them to be with my friends.  It may be that, unlike children with siblings, we cherish those peer moments which we do not have at home or maybe we are bit insecure at the fragility of a non-familial bond but for whatever reason I do find this to be a somewhat more common trait in my only children than in those who are not. 

Hoarding friends is actually work but well worth it to me.  It takes dedication and a fine balance between going out too much with them and having your husband get annoyed (or feeling guilty because you do want to also be with your children) and seeing everyone you have in your life.  It takes communication and listening to people.  Yet all of that I do gladly.  I find it interesting that people see it as a chore...based on comments I get...it may not be easy but really of all the things I could give up doing, cleaning the bathrooms usually comes to mind among other household chores, maintaining friendships never falls into that category.  I have always been pretty good at making friends but I have been very hesitant about how much of myself I actually share in a friendship.  I will be there as much as I can with honest, delivered in the kindest way I can, advice and lots of laughs and an appreciation for the friendships I have.

As I got older I realized the ever so social part of me enjoys the company of other people and that I am always grateful for the chance to be a part of someone else's life.  I think these networks held together through virtual space, phones, in person or even the occasional hand written note are part of the definition of me.  I will admit that many a boyfriend has told me that I like my friends more than them...and considering the friends are still here and they are gone guess that was not such a wrong assumption.  My wish for the future is that my boys (when they are adults because for now I do not need to be this with them nor do I feel I should be) will find me a friend too and I will accept their apologies when they choose their other friends over a day with me because I will try and remember they know they have me, they know I will be here no matter what but their friends are where they will need to be at that moment for a laugh, for maintenance of the friendship and mostly because friendships enhance us who are lucky enough to find them.  

If you're ever in a jam...here I am
If you're ever in a mess ...SOS
It's friendship, friendship...nothing more than friendship.....
Cole Porter


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