Recently, a long-time neighbor decided to move. Our children had grown up together. Our middle son spent a lot of his time shooting hoops in their driveway. Their moving had nothing to do with the house or the neighborhood. They said that it’s just time for a change. They have been wonderful friends for more than twenty years… and they will be missed.
As I stood looking at the “for sale” sign, I remembered a childhood friend who moved away. I’m not sure how old I was when she left, perhaps 7 or 8. I only know that I cried for days. She was my best friend. We were so close with her family that my dad made an opening in the white, wooden fence that was between our yards. Once when I got in trouble, I was grounded to my yard. My best friend sat at the edge of her yard by the opening while I sat in my yard on the other side. It felt like we were inseparable. It was one of the reasons I loved her so much!
I was more of a tomboy and enjoyed playing those rougher games. Many times, my friend and I took doll mattresses and wrapped them around saw horses to make pretend horses. When we played western bandits, she would let me be the notorious outlaw, Jesse James and she would be Jesse’s brother and sidekick, Frank. We shared so many fun filled childhood days: late nights catching lightning bugs and putting them into glass jars, swinging on my old metal swing set, riding bikes down the street, roller skating, creating a pet cemetery across the street filled with salamanders, frogs, snakes and birds, playing in my playhouse, making mud pies, having picnics, and so much more. I only have one blurry photograph of us together posing with her little brother at our make-shift lemonade stand. We promised to stay in touch. We didn’t. We grew up and “moved on” with our lives. The picture is blurred but the memories are clear.
Losing friends is never easy. The memories shared remain with us. The way we are treated stays. Things change and people do move away and move on. As the children’s author A.A. Milne said, “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.”