Monday, September 24, 2012

My Replacement

Saturday morning, I made the drive out to a pretty rural part of Maine to go to a friend's baby shower. As I drove closer and closer to her house, I started to feel a little bit emotional. I hadn't made that drive in about 10 years.
Scene along my drive
My friend Hanna and I were the very best of friends throughout high school. We were together all of the time. When you saw one of us, you saw the other. We had sleepovers at least 2 nights a week during our senior year. Hanna was the first person I called when I received my letters from colleges saying I was in. She was the only one who stood up for me when I was bullied from Freshman year until Junior year. The only one.

There used to be days when I would get to school and inside my locker would be a little book or a little stuffed animal and a note from Hanna saying simple things like "Have a good day!" or "I'm so glad we are friends."

After high school, I went off to college and Hanna went to England to live and work with some family friends. She and I kept in touch through letters and $40 phone calls. After my freshman year at UVM, Hanna came home to Maine and met her future husband. She and I both made mistakes and our friendship fell apart.

At some point, about 7 years later, she and I started emailing each other and tried to talk things out. We eventually met up and had dinner together, but it was clear things weren't the same. Since I moved home to Maine two years ago, Hanna and I have slowly started to regain our friendship. About a month ago, we went to dinner and ended up sitting in the restaurant for almost 4 hours laughing about old times.

At her baby shower, a wave of sadness came over me. While I was happy to be there and happy to celebrate her first baby with her, I was sad that I was there as a peripheral friend. I didn't know anyone there except for her mother and a family friend who didn't even remember ever meeting me (even though I stayed at her house once on a road trip with Hanna).

And I met my replacement. I met the girl who must have picked up right where I left off. I met Hanna's "new" best friend.

I couldn't help but be sad knowing that it would have been me planning that shower. It would have been me laughing with her family and hugging her mother when she was overcome with joy at how lovely the shower turned out.

As I get older, I'm sometimes saddened by the friends I've lost along the way, but I'm also starting to realize that some of these friends were placed in my path for very specific reasons. I'm so glad Hanna has come back onto my path and that we have a chance to keep moving forward together.


Sandra said...

Aw. I got teary eyed reading this! I understand what you mean. In my case a lot of my friends are married with kids and I just don't really fit into that world right now. I've attended the baby shower where I too remembered that I used to be the right hand friend. Sometimes it's tough trying to maintain friendships with people who are on a different path. But if we value what we used to have with that person and what we can still provide, it's worth stepping up to the new position we hold in their lives.

TheTinyHeart said...

I can totally relate to this point, since something similar happened to me and my best friend. We had a big falling out and then finally reconnected, but things weren't the same. We're not friends anymore. It makes me sad but I think the friendship had ran its course.

The Tiny Heart
Sept. Group Giveaway!

Erica said...

It can be disheartening how friends come and go through stages of our lives. Situations and people just change overtime. It is hard not to be nonstalgic about the old days though.

I've been able to reconnect with an old high school friend in the past few years. We live in different states, but are now more frequently in touch by telephone and e-mail. It's been nice to reconnect even though our lives are so different now.

Karla said...

Oh I know a little too well about how this feels. I had a “BF” for almost 8 years.. but during the planning of my wedding I got to see things I didn’t like about her and I questioned if I wanted or needed such person in my life. We broke off the friendship and for the most part I think it was for the better but id be lying if I said I didn’t have those days of nostalgia.. she was the only person that would tell me if I was wrong if I was being selfish etc.. I miss that! I miss obtaining advice from a wise educated girl. But like I said everything happens for a reason people come and go and at times we have to remember that as adults friendships take allot of work!

Lacey in the City said...

This one made my chest feel a little heavy, because it struck a chord. I know that feeling well, having moved so many times and away from so many friends. When I left SC after my freshman year was the hardest - my best, best friend ever got a new best friend...and they were inseparable, and when we'd have our cross country phone calls to catch up, I'd be jealous of how much the new best friend was in the stories and how I was not able to be. Thanks for sharing yet another thought provoking post.