The friendships you create and nurture when you are younger are different than the ones you establish later in life.
The friends who grew up with you knew your entire family. They played in your house and sometimes their siblings and your siblings and a whole gang of neighbourhood kids joined together for a game of baseball or hockey or just to hang around in the park doing nothing and doing everything.
They also knew things that friends you meet later in life will never know like the smell of your house/family. You know the way every family has their “smell”
They also knew if your mom was a good cook and enjoyed her best meals and desserts and they knew what type of food was in your fridge and in your pantry and how much of it they could get away with eating without feeling uncomfortable.
There was that one house where everyone hung out either because the parents were away often or they just didn’t care if there were 20 kids in their basement doing whatever they were doing.
And together you all witnessed your first relationships – boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. They knew “how far” you had gone and “how far” you were willing to go and then one by one you each went “all the way” and it was this whole big amazing scary yet exciting thing. And when the breakups and the tears came, your friends were around you like family because when you are a teenager your friends are sometimes closer to you than your actual family. There is this unspoken “I’ve got your back and I’m in your corner” throughout the years that later in life you wish you still had or you are lucky enough to still have based on whether or not you stayed close and in touch with your childhood friends.
They knew your dog. They walked him with you and they loved him and let him sleep on their lap and he was everyone’s dog and he accompanied all of you throughout your escapades and adventures. They were there when he reached the end of his journey and they hurt for him but mostly for you.
You could always find a place to crash if spending the night at home was not ideal for whatever reason. Perhaps your parents were going through a divorce or you were in a fight with your sibling or you just didn’t feel like being at home. You would stay up all night talking and sometimes share a bed without a second thought and only in the purest way. Then in the morning even if you parted for a few hours to get things done or to go home and shower and change, chances are you were on the phone or back together by the afternoon.
Time was endless. You could be together hour upon hour and it still wasn’t long enough even if you were doing absolutely nothing.
Then we grow up. We go away to school. We move to another city and start our careers and meet our life partners and have kids and buy a house and meet new friends – often the parents of your kid’s friends. We try to keep in touch with our childhood friends but life is tough and busy and a big puzzle with the pieces all over the floor and stuck in between the couch cushions and rarely are you able to sit down and put it all back together again where everything fits and nothing is missing.
So the tree starts with the roots and those are your family. Then the trunk begins and that is formed of your childhood friends and then the branches grow and that is yet another stage of your childhood friends as you grow older. Then the tree, although very strong and healthy begins to bud and form leaves and these leaves come and go. They are aplenty in summer but there is fall when they blow away and there is winter when they don’t appear at all and there is spring when they are nothing but a bud and all of that is made up of the friendships you make later in life. They do not have the same intensity or staying power and they have no roots and no trunk because you were not there when those parts of their trees were formed.
The tree is always beautiful in all its seasons but the most special part by far are the roots from which our family has been planted and the trunk from which our friendships has been strengthened. And although the branches may crack and the leaves may fall, there will always be roots deep in the ground and a trunk that stands the test of time.