This weekend I had coffee with my friend, Joyce. I’m pretty sure we hadn’t seen each other since around 2013 when she was celebrating her degree. That night was one of the small handful of times I’d seen her two youngest girls. I think it was only the second time she’d met Rich. In between that night and this weekend there had been a few texts here and there but the pause in contact is nothing new for Joyce and I. Over the last 25 years or so there have been many lengthy pauses in our contact, but they’ve never equaled a pause in our friendship.
I can’t tell you when Joyce and I first met, or when we decided we were friends. There was no decision. We have been friends pretty much our entire lives. We met as toddlers and grew up as neighbors from that point through to our early teen years. Even after we took turns moving away from our old neighborhood we stayed in touch. In the age before cell phones and constant contact through text messaging, we made real calls, sent each other letters. We even got together for dinner a few times once we could both drive.
Our friendship has weathered through a lot. There were the good times like a summer of backyard dance performances that younger siblings were happy to watch – we were sure of it. We took babysitting courses together to become “certified” to watch other people’s kids. There was the time we sneaked a measuring cup of straight sugar out to the backyard because she hadn’t been able to have sweets and we ate the whole thing. Of course there were a few rocky points. The infamous sprinkler attack when she clocked me in the side of the head with a garden sprinkler, and the day I completely accidentally clocked her little sister unconscious with a metal baseball bat.
The friendship survived. And it survives today. And we survived our own rocky starts, both taking what some would call the hard way to adulthood. When we sat down with our coffee on Saturday our conversation picked up like we’d seen each other a few days ago. We grinned like preteens while we shared our current successes, and that is always how it goes for us. If we don’t see each other again for the next several months, or even the rest of this year, those pauses in contact will never weaken what was started by toddlers in two yellow houses all those years ago. It’s one of those friendships I know I’ll be able to hold onto for the rest of my days.