One of my favorite people in the world and his wife just popped out a brand new baby boy yesterday morning. They waited till the birth to find out what the baby was, which made having a baby boy that much more special being that this was baby #2, but boy #1. The night before, he had told me there was a hold on people coming into the hospital because apparently six people had died from the flu, so visitation was limited. I felt hurt, not because I couldn’t see the baby right away… but that I couldn’t be there for him to run into the delivery waiting room so he could scream IT’S A BOY while handing out the cigars (which I’m sure he’ll pick up after reading this) to the any one willing to take one.
I am… a sentimental type of guy.
I buy into shit like that. I buy into the surprise parties, and the sending people flowers. I buy into the family photos coming in the mail, and weekend BBQ’s. I buy into the phone calls about the first words, or seeing the mothers day drawings that the kids made in school this week… I still buy into the living that portion of the American dream that you would see if a Norman Rockwell painting came to life. So when I tell you I really felt bad for not being there for him, I sincerely mean that it ate at me… cause that is my friend– and through the years I haven’t been here for my friends as much I wish I could, and this brings up my thought for the day:
Can you actually be BFF’s forever?
Haha… I have to admit, it’s kinda emasculating to sit here and type BFF continuously, but whatever… suck it.
Follow me. Almost 20 years ago I’d met this man, whom I now call my brother, and for years after that we were inseparable. As well as this man, there were others. A very very strong, tight-knit, group of friends. I mean, think of us like the friends from Friends, except way cooler, and we lived with our parents. It was during those times when all the hopes, wishes, and promises that in out future, we’d all grow-up, stay friends, have kids, and get old together.
We’d say things like, “when we have kids they’re going to grow up to be best-friends and get into the same shit that we’re doing right now, but we’re going to be cooler parents.” Or, “we’re all going to live close to each other and just hang out all weekend with out wives in each others backyard, and do everything together.” I mean, what kid hasn’t said that to a friend once?
Well I consider myself lucky, because at 31, I don’t know too many people who really hang out with many friends from high school still. Fortunately for us, the bond of my group hasn’t really ever separated. I left them for 10 years to play hero in the Marine Corps, and they all still stuck together and created their own memories together. Memories that they as a group can sit an talk about, but I’d have to need an explanation in order to be in on the joke.
Unfortunately, that hurts a bit.
And it no fault of anyone’s really; and if there was fault to be had, it’s my own. 10 years, 7 moves, 5 countries, 4 deployments, 3 duty stations… and I wasn’t exactly filling them in on all of it, but I came home to see them whenever I could.
But the good thing is that, I never felt isolated when I came home. Each time, my friends showed the utmost excitement, and wanted nothing but to spend time with me and fill me in on what I’ve missed. They wanted to live like we had in the years of the past; and we would. We would drink, we would smoke, we would drive around and just listen to music, antagonize crabs till they clip on to our nipples, climb radio towers we had no business climbing, get into fights we didn’t start… these are the memories that we made as teens… and then again as young adults.
But the minute I leave, life goes on.
And that’s the thing right? Life goes on. Life goes on so much that friends that were once as tight as buttholes, would slit each others throat if they knew they could get away with it. So much so that girlfriends and boyfriends of our friends that I used to find reasons to hate, have become wives and husbands in which I’ve come to love like my own family. So much so that what was once my normality, is now a far away parallel universe that only I choose to remember and continuously remind people of.
But life went on for me too. I came back a completely different person. I came back a much more responsible guy than I’d left. I came back more disciplined in mind set, and more knowledgable in my personal wants and needs… and sure (my friends would say) I came back cocky, and maybe a little snooty in a sense, but only cause I’d wanted the best for me and my friends.
I also came back to a much looser group. Where there were once eight really inseparable friends, became 3 inseparable friends and 3 more stragglers. One of those stragglers being me.
But I had my reasons.
I’d reunited with my better half and started this relationship that would turn into marriage, baby, and carriage. I was dead set on getting a good job. Then I got the good job. Then that job took me across the globe for work where’d I’d be gone for months at a time. And do you think I was calling all my friends and giving them the 411 on my status… no. I mean they weren’t reaching out either, but that’s just what we do… at least that’s what I did; and believe me… they would let me know what they thought about my Houdini acts… very much so.
So to get back on track, my friend and his wife had their first baby a little over 3 years ago, and I sweared that she was going to be my best friend. I was going to come around all the time and be a huge influence in her life, like my friend and I had talked about when we were kids, and talked about even more when he showed me the pregnancy sticks with the life altering +.
And then work sent me away to Canada.
And then my fiancé and I bought a house in the Valley (which if you know Los Angeles at all, you know that 405 commute to anywhere ain’t no joke).
And then the frequency of seeing each other became longer, and longer… and longer. And I haven’t gotten to see his daughter grow up. But everyone else has.
They all still get together often… but me… I just can’t find the time.
This is true for all my friends. ALL OF THEM. I’ll literally go months without seeing any of them, speak to them randomly on the phone, and text each other when we need something or thought of something from the past, and it sincerely bothers me. I’m in the country, only miles away from them, and there is very little contact from my end. Shit… I got back from Korea a week ago, and yesterday when my friend told me they were going in to get the baby out, I asked what time should I come to the hospital just to find out he’d still though I was in Korea. Why hadn’t I told him I returned? Who knows…
Anyway… why I laid down that depressing intro, was because of this. We’re all still friends, and those talks about how our kids are going to grow up together and all those great promises we made to each other about taking them camping, and to Magic Mountain, and play sports together, and whatever else we all promised… well that time is now. The time to find out whether our childhood promises will hold-up, starts now; for once Baby-X is born, three of us will have had baby boys born within 6 months of each other.
That’s the most exciting thing ever. Seriously. All I can think about is rekindling my friendship with my family through playdates, and roadtrips, weekend BBQ’s, days at the beach, camping trips… whatever you can possibly think of…
But that’s now.
That’s how I think things will go today.
I pray that I can rekindle my friendship with my friends through playdates and road trips. I pray that the bond of our children brings us these weekend BBQ’s, days at the beach, and camping trips… I want my childhood talks of our kids being BFF’s like we all were, to be as true as the ocean is wet.
What I know is this. My friends will be around, but as we all become parents, none of us really know what is to come from life. Some of us may move out of Cali (which if it’d be anyone it’d be me first). Some of us may not like how bad of an influence our kid is on theirs (which is probably unlikely). Our kids may be too involved with their other friends, camps, or sports… who fucking knows… There is literally no crystal ball on my table I can look into to tell you what will happen in 10 years… but I do know this… I love my friends with all my heart, and there is nothing more that I want then to have my son and my friends’ kids, to be as close as blood relatives like we once were…
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