A 30 Something Mom’s Letter to My High School Girls.
I miss you.
God, do I ever miss you.
It’s early & still dark outside. I’m wearing the same tank top I’ve probably worn in a few days and can’t remember the last time I took a real shower. I crawl back under the covers after getting up to give the baby her early morning bottle and lay there scrolling through Facebook for awhile. I come across your photos. Photos of your husbands and wives. Your babies. Your old and new houses. Your jobs. Your latest big adventure. I lay there half asleep and smile because I somehow feel like I am living all of your joys with you even though I am simply on the outside looking in. And then all of the sudden it hits me and almost takes my breath away. I realize that I’ve lost touch with you.
I didn’t plan on life going this way. Two weeks after high school graduation I left the country for an entire summer. Not even a week after returning from that trip I packed up my car and moved 279 miles away from home. It all happened so fast and in an honest moment I don’t know if it was the right decision. I have this cloud of doubt and regret that hangs over me and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake it. You all got to spend one last summer together making memories before college and I was, well, I was gone. I was never worried though because we have been friends since middle school and I knew that nothing would ever change that. You were my people.
College came and those first years of breaks and long weekends were spent together. We couldn’t wait for all of us to get back into town and see each other. We drank. We cried. We laughed. We laughed so hard that we cried. We made mistakes – some bigger than others. We spent way too much time at our favorite coffeeshop. We encouraged each other. We supported each other. We started to grow up. Then out of nowhere this shift began to happen. I started to spend more time at home with my family than going out with you. It wasn’t intentional but before I knew it the weekend just wasn’t long enough anymore to get quality time in with both you and my family. Truthfully, I was so homesick. In turn that meant more time with my family and less with you. Even though I didn’t see you as much as I had hoped I still wasn’t worried. Nothing was ever going to change. You were my people.
Two months before I met my husband I had decided to move home after college graduation. My free time was spent looking for jobs and apartments in our hometown. I simply couldn’t wait to be back and naturally assumed that we would all move home and life would continue on as normal except now we would be adults and the “real world” would be so much better than high school. I am admittedly a little [a lot] naive. The glass is always half full and just the way I want it. Except suddenly my life started to remain 279 miles away from you. The weekends home got fewer. The time we spent together got shorter. And the amount of time that passed between when I saw you grew much larger. But I still wasn’t worried. You were my people.
We graduated and started our real jobs. We got married and have started having babies. We all started to settle down in different towns in different states. We made new friends with the people in our current life circles. Suddenly we each started to have a tribe of our own. But here is the thing. I may love and adore the women in my tribe now, but you were my tribe first. They aren’t you. They weren’t there for all of the break ups and make ups. They weren’t there for all of the countless nights we spent sleeping on the floor at our parents houses. They weren’t there for all of the sleepovers, the road trips, the after school practices, and the Friday night football games. They weren’t there for our first drink, the first time we had too much to drink, or the first time we had to be the sober one and drive the rest of our drunk asses home. They weren’t there for the million and a half selfies that we took the old fashioned way with our digital cameras. They weren’t there the nights we spent driving all around town, pranking drive thru’s, and getting lost on random park trails. They weren’t there the night we stole the street sign and 12 Christmas trees, the chilly clear nights we spent by the bonfire under a blanket, or all of our conversations over coffee. They don’t know the long & complicated histories with the first person that we ever loved & would never admit that we probably still do. They don’t get me the same way that you get me. They aren’t you.
You are my people. You are where I come from. And no amount of time or distance is ever going to erase that. I know that life is busy now with spouses and babies and bills, but know that in the midst of all of that I do think of you often. More than you probably realize. And how I wish that we could all just drop everything and hang out like we did when life was much simpler. But instead I’m at home in my yoga pants arguing with my middle schooler over the X-box, telling my toddler to stay out of the dang fruit snacks, and changing my littlest babe’s diaper for the 100th time today. I know that this crazy busy season of life won’t last forever. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to be a good wife and mom and friend all at the same time. But right now I suck. I suck at keeping in touch with you and I am sorry. The problem is I’ve become such a terrible multi-tasker and when I talk to you I really want to talk to you. And honestly who has time for long conversations like that most days? I hate being so far away & I don’t want to become just another name on a baby shower invite or Christmas card list. I want to know all of the details of your lives. I want to know the real story. The hard days. The really, really hard days. I want to cheer you on when things are going great and be there for you when it just seems unbearable. Even if that means shipping Ben and Jerry’s to your house – thank goodness for online grocery delivery now days! Just know that I love you fiercely and I hope you always know that. Even when I am far away and suck at communicating.
This post is dedicated to my high school girls. Tiffany, Mel, Amy, Brittany, Leslie, Alyssa, Whitney, and Jenn. Love you.