Friday, 2 April 2010

Happy Birthday. Have a nice life.

It was my best friend's birthday this week. I didn't see her.  In fact, I didn't even send her a card.  This is not just because I'm utterly rubbish (although I am). She's moved recently to New York, and I don't (or thought I didn't) have her new address.

But it's got me thinking about our relationship, and the likelihood that it will be a very long time before I actually see her again for all that we are regularly in touch, and from that to how many friends I am going to lose over this move...

But back to my best friend.  To be honest, that description's a bit of artistic licence because she's not really my best friend any more, although she's still special to me, and I hope I am to her.  We were inseparable at university after we bonded over a pair of rubbish boys (one (hers) now married to another mutual friend, and the other (never actually mine, but I lived in hope) missing, presumed somewhere in the UK.)  But since university we've gone our separate ways. She's had to work exceptionally hard, and often anti-social hours, to get to the successful place she is now, and I was doing all the mundane mummy stuff that fills up your day and your mind without you knowing, and the result is that our lives have just drifted apart, as they do.  We both know this, and although it is sad, I realise that that is the way things go.

But now, it will be even less likely that we will see each other.   She will be in New York, I will be in Scotland. When she comes back to the UK it will be to London where her family and many of her friends are, and if that doesn't happen to coincide with when I'm here, we are unlikely to meet... 

In a way I'm not too worried.  We will stay in touch and when it matters we will make that effort and we will see each other.

But what of the others? What of the people I have worked with for the last ten years, or the women I have shared the first few years of our children's lives with, or the neighbours who I have got to know so well living in this house?

Because a lot of them I will say goodbye to in less than four weeks' time, and then I will, literally, never see them again.  Oh, we might send Christmas cards, or keep in touch on facebook, or if I'm very brave I'll give them this blog address and they can keep in touch with my witterings that way, but it's not the same. These are people I've seen four or five times a week.

Now there are lots of people that I know I will see, because they are lovely, and I love them, and they have already booked in their dates to visit us, or we have plans to see them when we are down, or we will be on the phone and sorting something out just as soon as the first boxes are unpacked. 

And there are other people where I realise that our friendships are superficial, and we would have slipped apart anyway.   Someone said to me the other day "Well, I guess we won't see each other again, good luck".  I stood there, mouth agape, unsure what to say. It seemed so final.  We're not that close, and I'm sure there are other people to whom I have been closer and with whom I have lost touch. But to say it, out loud, seemed almost violent. 

But at least it was honest. Is it better to do, and be, that than to make promises of keeping in touch, calling regularly, making efforts to see them when I'm down  here, when I know in my heart of hearts that there are a (largeish) handful of people who really fit into that category and the others, well, I am very fond of them, but there just isn't going to be time...?  And how do I choose?  How can I tell?  Because I suspect that there are some people who I will lose despite my hope and efforts.

Realistically, I know that this is just the same, though happening over a quicker time-frame, as what has happened between me and the best friend.  Friendships change, we change, we move on or away, we have different interests, and different friends for different stages of our lives.  But this feels different. These are people who I'm not drifting away from.  I am breaking these relationships and walking away from them deliberately.  And I'm not just doing it to my friends.  L and A and S, but particularly L, all have friends here, and some of them they too will never see again.  And how on earth do I begin to explain that to them?

On the upside - if you're reading this, and you know me, and you've secretly been wanting to get rid of me for is your opportunity.

This sculpture is actually entitled Welcome Home and it's at Fleetwood in Lancashire. I didn't take it. I found it at


  1. New here, hello, and developing and keeping great friendships is so hard with children...

  2. We've got 4 weeks until our move now, and I've started thinking the same things. But in my circle of 'baby' friends I can already see who I'd be drifting away from, and those who I'll stay in touch with. Friends come and go but the really good ones last through all the moves. The hardest friendship I've fought to maintain is with someone I worked with pre-kids and had loads of fun with. But 5 years on, she is desperate for a partner and kids and I try not to talk about mine, but where I am now in my life that's pretty much it...and find it hard to keep up with the academic life. But there you go, there will be new friends in Scotland and life will be fun again. Don't worry, it'll all be fine!

  3. This post brought a lump to my throat. Friendship is a funny old thing - those who are meant to stay in your life will I am sure. Those who you drift away from, may after a while drift back. I hope you make new friends, and that's one lovely thing about having children, they make talking to other parents easier because you have things in common. I have started seeing some of the mums in my sons class, and it's so lovely. Be open, and just like you are on your blog and you will be surrounded by friends x

  4. I've moved too often, so I'm used to this. Not many friendships will survive long distance. It's a different way of looking at the world, I suppose. You have family, a handful of close friends, and then it's "locals." Melancholy post. I hope the transition goes smoothly for you.

  5. Ace. So we're finally getting shot of you ;-). When are you ready for a visit of the Ts?

  6. I find leaving very hard and get nostalgic about everything - and take lots of photos as if to try and preserve everything. So I'm feeling for you. Good luck.

  7. sorry, my comment looks completely random because I meant to leave it on the post with the photo of "outside my front door"! I need to concentrate!

  8. I give myself a really hard time about losing touch with people, but I know it's inevitable, as my life takes a different path. I'm in a similar situation - my 'best friend' works abroad - we used to chat a lot on Skype but it's really fizzled out. I know she's not really interested in the babies etc, and that hurt me at first, but now I've come to terms with it. And I've made some fantastic new friends through having babies, so I think I just have to move on. x

  9. Oh, I left a comment, but it didn't work. I said something about it is often a surprise who you keep in touch with and who you don't. Like that's really worth re-typing...


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