What makes a friend?

Four weeks ago I had the scariest thing happen to me as a mom, I couldn’t locate my daughter for three and a half hours. Needless to say, she finally responded to my text and a lecture was presented on my part. In summary, the phone call was completed just after I got to work, outside the building as I didn’t want to attract attention. When I completed the call, I broke down in heavy tears. Three and a half hours is a long time. How about those parents that have children missing for days, weeks, months, sometimes never returning. I can’t even imagine the pain of not knowing for so long.

So I was crying uncontrollably. Easily understood if you could only imagine what I was feeling: relief, exhaustion, anger. One of my work colleagues had just arrived at work and approached me. She hugged me while I calmed down. I was somewhat embarrassed that she saw me in that condition. We are not close, but I would have preferred my husband or a good friend to console me, but I appreciated her efforts as I would have done the same if the situation were reversed.

I bring this up because in the weeks that have followed, I feel like I have noticed a change between us. I believe moments like these that are raw are rare. I haven’t cried like that in years and it bared my soul in ways I haven’t done so in a long time. She saw me in a way, most people I have known for years haven’t. And seeing the aftermath of exchanges, as silly as it sounds, makes me wish I just refused the term of affection and settled down on my own (which is the me I usually am these days).

I spoke to a former work colleague and friend yesterday who recalled a story I shared once with him. He remembered. I couldn’t believe he remembered. I was amazed, but frankly I am not surprised because he always had a way of remembering things I told him. And even though we hadn’t spoken in a long time, I appreciated our short conversation and knowing our friendship still exists.

In general, as we get older, it’s harder to make friends. I feel this the most because of my struggles with hearing. I often feel I miss what others are saying and they mistake that as my not caring about their story. I feel bad asking them to repeat what they said, again and again — then when I don’t recall a certain detail, it appears as if I don’t care about being their friend. Alas, why I have a hard time making friends.

So what do I do? I make sure I treasure the friends I do have and have known for a long time. And every now and then, a casual friend may pop up that I met through work. We may go out for drinks after our shift, from time to time. And then one may leave the job, we go our separate ways, never to see each other again. That’s okay because those friendships are necessary as they are built on the support of work day-to-day experiences.

In conclusion, I can’t take back what happened four weeks ago, but I do know that it’s important for me to be more aware. Aware of how I treat others and hope that what I give as friendship, comes back around the same to me, even if for a short time.