Only Child Syndrome and the Broken Friendship Trail

Sizzle had a post recently that got me thinking about friends.

I can count my true friends on one hand. No, I take that back… it wouldn't even take up one hand. I'm not counting my family – Hubs and the kids – because they are on another level of friendship altogether. I'm talking about people I have actually interacted with in my lifetime who are physical beings, not blogosphere entities. Yes, I know you are my friends, but you, too, are on another level.

As a kid I always envied the group who gathered at the end of the senior year for pictures as the kids who had been together since kindergarten. My Hubs could be in a picture like that. My own kids could be in a picture like that. Me? No. We moved between kindergarten and first grade, between second and third, and near the end of fifth. I struggled in a new city with the tag-end of fifth grade (most of which I spent in the hospital getting my tonsils out) and sixth grade was a total bitch. I was always a good student, but was depressed by that move and finding myself thrown from small-town to big city school system where suddenly it was changing rooms for every class and new people in every group. I did have a couple of girls I played with, one who was a neighbor, in the third through fifth grade period. It was a constant whirl of girly-ness what with one girl of the trio always being "out" of the favor of the other two. Still? It was the first time I'd had anyone of my own age nearby who I could see practically on a daily basis… before my parents became "weird" and overprotective. That was my favorite place on earth and it was no wonder I was depressed after the move.

After we moved, I was introduced to a girl who was in our church and who I started going to youth church meetings with. Luckily, she was a very nice girl who took me under her wing and we became fast friends. Still? She already had a "best friend" that she, too, had grown up with since kindergarten, so I was really a third wheel once more. They tolerated me and we were friends, but I never got that bond with her that they had with each other. She ended up marrying, then divorcing, my ex-husband's best high school buddy (I introduced them)… then remarried and we exchange christmas cards. When I'm sending them. (Didn't do so well with that last year). Still? I haven't spoken to her in person for about 25 years. Seeing as she knew me through most of my parent's bizarre and abusive stages, she mainly sat back and thanked her lucky stars that she had her parents, not mine.

As an adult, I've not made many friends. The phase of my life where I went more "public"… aka "going out" … could be contributed to running into a girlfriend that I'd known back in that small town where I was happy. As adults, we connected and through her I met a couple of other women. One would become my maid of honor in my second marriage. The other would destroy the friendship I had with my maid of honor.

In my mid-adult life I met people through my work. Three of them became very close to me. Two of them ended up moving out of state, and although I tried to keep in touch with one of them, time and distance has made us both mute. The other… well, some things were said and things were done that could not be forgiven and there has been a wall between us ever since. The last still comes by to offer support and encouragement and although I love her very much we've lost the core of what bonded us together. She has best friends and a life in another part of the state that goes on without me and I feel awkward when we are together, so I go into avoidance mode (a blog friend once told me that I was not anti-social, just avoidant.)

I have one other adult friend who has patience beyond belief. We used to talk daily. Email, usually, but once a day if not more. She and I seem to connect. We both have farmer husbands and so both understand the life and the involved stresses. Although we don't see or talk to each other nearly as much as we used to, when we do… it is as though I saw her yesterday. She makes it easy. She doesn't mince words, she tells you how it is, and she has been through things in her life that give her great insight into the world around us. However, I don't see her often and wonder about that.

I am an only child, but I now have a large family. I have surrounded myself with the things that I enjoy. My Hubs, my family, my critters. I have more interests than I have time to do it all. I read, I play WoW, I cross-stitch, I knit, I crochet, I do rubber stamping, I paint, I garden, I write, I blog, I take pictures, I enjoy movies, music, and many varying television shows. I have an imagination and am not afraid to use it. I am often alone, but am not lonely.

I feel sometimes that I've left this trail of broken friendships down the path of my life. It wasn't intentional, it just sort of happened that way. I envy those who have the close friendships. Yet? I don't feel an emptiness in my soul where those bodies should be. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. For a little bit. Just a bit.