• Cindy manko

Friendship: A surprising twist

I sit here thinking of all the wonderful friends I have, or have had along the way and I

can’t help but feel like there is this nagging sense of dread when I want to write about it to you. I could write so many cliche examples of a good friend, or give you a list of things to do to be a good friend, like the magazine Cosmopolitan did in an article. But, I am not in the mood to say what everyone else says about friendships. I want to be real and honest with you right now. I want someone to say, “finally, someone said what I feel.” Friendships can be hard to navigate! To have a friend is wonderful. Friends are friends because we have found common ground on something. We become friends because we share experiences like my friend Sarah and I shared throughout elementary school. She was the best school friend in the world. We played on the swings together, we were in a classroom play together in second grade, we played sports with the boys, we ran the three legged race together, and we studied and worked in the hallway together. Then we moved on to middle school....and new friends. To me, it flowed into that. She and I weren’t in the same classes, we didn’t play sports together, and I don’t know if I felt the loss of our friendship, but it was a loss nonetheless. It wasn’t deliberate, or vindictive. It was the flow of life and like a river where it forks, things are carried down two different paths, and our friendship was floating apart simply by the flow of life.

I sit here typing and deleting, typing and deleting. I just can’t put into words a lifetime of going in and out of friendships or 21 years of getting my kids through the murky waters of friendships. One thing I know for sure is that there are very few friendships that last a lifetime. I have felt defeated and heart sick over the loss of a couple friends along the way. There were friendships that didn’t just flow down different branches of the river. The friendship hit white water rapids, then crashed down a very tall waterfall. The break ups weren’t pretty. I consider it half my fault and it makes me have physical pains in my stomach when I rehash the situations and know I couldn’t fix it, despite the apologies I gave. They moved on without me. As an adult feeling these feelings it is hard to imagine a young elementary or middle school child processing such feelings.

Parent to parent, I say hug your kids and tell them they are loved. I am not going to

suggest to you to be their BFF, but you can be the love they need in an uncertain time of where they fit in. You can gently remind them it’s not that they are not good enough, friendship exist because two people connect, and sometimes you don’t connect. They may have to search for friends, but they should never feel like friends are what is necessary to feel loved. Friends will come and go, but your love should endure through all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly.

This quote really speaks volumes of truth.

"Good friends care for each other, close friends understand each other,

but true friends stay forever"--anonymous

Teach them grace with friends, but teach them about boundaries.

Navigating friendships is hard sometimes.

The parent answer is: you are enough. I love you!

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