I’ve been pondering the notion of friendship a lot recently, and admitting to myself how hard it sometimes is to have your friends scattered all over the world as we do.
I had a lovely Skype chat with a friend in Australia the other day. I used to schedule those chats for a time when DorkySon was here, but now I wait and do it while he’s at nursery, otherwise the entire hour is taken up by him showing off all the cars in his toybox. We usually manage to catch up every couple of months, and it’s always great to hear how she is settling into her new life, how work is going and all the rest of it. But it’s not quite the same as when we used to sit and watch a chick flick together with a bottle of wine and a pizza. It’s especially hard when there are big things going on in each other’s lives. Celebrating good news (or commiserating about bad news) several weeks after the fact, via computer screen, doesn’t feel quite as effective as an in-person hug!
In a similar vein, a former flatmate had a lovely baby boy a few weeks ago, and I have been looking through my diary trying to make sure I can organise a visit sometime before the lad starts school. Another close friend is due to have a baby sometime in the next six weeks, and not only have I not seen her bump, I haven’t even met the father-to-be! Is it just me, or do other people’s babies – these new, tiny people – not seem quite real until you’ve actually held them in your arms? A Facebook photo is definitely no substitute for a wee milky puke on your shoulder.
On a brighter note, I headed into London to have coffee with two Edinburgh friends earlier in the week, and had a really lovely time. They have got some exciting things going on too, and nothing makes me happier than when nice things happen to nice people.
It made me realise that when we were still living up there, we really didn’t make as much effort as we should have done to use our weekends well and spend time with the people we liked. So I am trying to remedy that, and make sure we don’t make the same mistake again.
A friend in Harpenden is moving away from here and into London next week, and I am determined that the extra miles and train journeys necessary to meet up will not stop us from still having regular coffees and lunches.
We are already trying to plan our Christmas holidays to make sure we get as much time as possible with some other close friends who are over visiting from Australia.
And in a month or so we are heading across to the States to see some wonderful friends that we have not seen in two years. American Thanksgiving is one of the best reminders for me of what matters in a friendship. There is no exchange of presents, no big fuss made, just people who know and love each other sitting down, eating and enjoying each other’s company, catching up on news, and being grateful for the good things in their life.
I can’t wait to see what our friends make of DorkySon, who was not even two last time they saw him. I think he is keen to make a good impression, and is already spending a lot of time practicing on his harmonica so he can join in with the traditional post-turkey music session.
If they can endure that, they will be true friends indeed.