The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Life's Evolving Door

I remember, that as a kid, I used to love to play with klackers. I had a couple sets. Some really cool clear blue ones, and another set of purple ones. I lost them both years and years ago. I don't often, but when I see them now, I get nostalgic. I really have no desire to run out and get a set. I'd be over them again in about five minutes. I outgrew them long ago.

Just like I outgrew watching "Scooby Doo" on Saturday mornings, and Nik'l Nip wax bottles, and mood rings, and David Cassidy, and riding on the handlebars of my friends' bikes.

As I got older, I outgrew wearing platform shoes and getting drunk on purpose. I outgrew staying out all night and trying to go to work the next day with no sleep.

I've outgrown alot of things in 43 years. Like most people (I'd imagine), I don't usually think much about it, when I'm doing it. I feel I've gotten better with age, and if that means outgrowing some things, I suppose that's okay.

Last weekend, I realized I've outgrown an old friend. Someone I had considered a friend for 28 years, even though I hadn't seen her face to face for maybe 15 of those years.

When we went to high school together, she and I were pretty tight. She was one of the four of us girls that did everything together. And I thought we had so much in common. Even then, she was the one of us who was the wildest and had the biggest mean streak, but I suppose the rest of us balanced it out.

But now, well, it's painfully obvious how far we've grown apart. She pulled out pictures of her kids to show me, and her 6 and 8 year old daughters had make-up caked on their little cherubic faces. Cheerleading camp. But, she said, they almost always wear it anyway. They like it. A throw back from beauty pagent competitions. ::sigh::

I offered her some dessert and she mentioned that she didn't cook much. That her kids lived on McDonald's burgers and fries. They'd be quite surprised to find anything home-cooked in front of them. And probably wouldn't eat it. Her full-term normal six year old, weighs the same as my micro-preemie, still underweight, six year old. ::sigh::

Maybe I'm just a snob when it comes to parenting. I try not to be. I do realize that everyone has their own way to do it. That, no one way is right. Just as all children are individuals, the approach you must take to raise them should be as well. And, beyond that, I don't want a world of autonomatron children. Where each of them is identical (and interchangeable) with any other one. And I know, that to get that result, different approaches must be used.

Now, my friend looked basically the same as she did in high school. Oh, she had a few wrinkles around the eyes and had picked up a little weight. But, I couldn't dismiss that she was the same girl. And as she sat there, talking about an episode of "Dr. 90210" (her favorite show...::sigh::) that she'd seen recently, all of the things we had in common just kept falling away, little by little.

It was a little sad. Maybe more than a little. Clearly, there's not much left between us. It's funny how we, as humans, have a want to hold tight to those things from our past. But, when we look them squarely in the face, we have no idea why we would want them now at all. Novelty's sake at best. Which is shallow and, definitely, unkind.

You grow. You learn. You change. You mature. And as you do, you presume that everyone else from your past does the same. And while you aren't together during the time you're growing and learning and changing and maturing, you're sure that you're somehow independently reaching the same results. Why do we assume that? It's the individual experiences that shape us, isn't it? And, even if, by some strange coincidence, those people from our past did have the exact experiences that we did, why should we expect that they'd turn out the same anyway. It's not as if we were the same person to start with.

Somehow, though, our mind overrides all of that logic, and produces genuine surprise (and then a little remorse) when it doesn't turn out that our assumptions were correct. Which is strange. Because, we're intelligent people, after all. It would have been abnormal to get the results we had imagined.

Is it that our youth takes a 'ding' because of how these friends turned out? Are we taking blame, in some way, for not being there more? For failing to provide more of an influence to help guide them down different paths. (Boy, that sounds rather immodest. Ugh!!) What is it that makes us feel this sense of loss when this happens? How do I outgrow that?


Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

SG-I don't know that we ever outgrow it. I have two dear old female friends with whom I lost touch. Our interests and lives have grown so far apart that if we met again as strangers, I doubt we'd become friends at all. One of them became a born-again Christian and stayed with a husband who used to abuse her (I don't know if the abuse has continued...last time we talked, she "claimed" he had stopped) We have a stretch of history in common, and I'd never, ever want this extinguished from my memory, as sad as I am about losing touch with them. I'm interested in how their lives are doing, and would love to catch up. Past the long initial phone call and the couple of cards we'd send and the promise to come visit, somehow I doubt much would come from it.

I don't consider my youth "dinged," however. As you say, we all grow and change. But I hope you don't let it ruin your precious memories. Because it's what's contributed to who you are now. (Christ, I hope I don't sound too much like a Hallmark card...must be the holidays...)

4/13/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Opus pegged most of it.

As we get older, even if things are going well, we eventually want to reconnect with happy times in our past, and that includes old friends. In a way they're part of our identity, and it's a very human thing to want to keep as much of it intact as possible; it helps us feel we've grown and developed but are, at our core, the same people we've always been. Too many changes and it feels like a betrayal or dismissal of our past. We've fallen asleep near a seed pod and been replaced, only realizing it when we meet up with a reminder that we were once someone else.

As someone who's has had few actual friends over the years - people I've spent long periods of time with by choice - I was saddened to realize how much of a gulf came to exist between me and a friend from the age of 5 on until... well, there's the rub or the nub, isn't it?

What's interesting to think about is that Opus' friend likely has a similar view of Opus that you (Tammy) had of your former friend. The very real sense that you'd matured but your old friend hadn't. I suspect that's the same situation with me and my old friend, as he went on to become a Reagan Republican and is now one of those "by my own bootstraps" neo-Cons who (IMHO) has been duped into lock-step march with a party line by being constantly praised as "independently-minded." From his perspective, I'm sure, I'm the one who's failed to ripen and develop. The waters are muddied because in terms of being a well-adapted adult I really haven't ripened and developed. At last check-in he had much more control over his life, and a greater sense of accomplishment and generally feeling established and in control. Green grass and all that, of course.

Anyway, I've held in the back of my mind that in the fullness of time our oldest friendships will come around, gilded in both sets of memories by nostalgia, a need to reconnect with our pasts and to renew a unique relationship that we hope will have appreciated in value like a treasure long-forgotten in a vault somewhere.

First friendships and perhaps even a first love come back around, even if it's only because it's the closest we can come to a magic mirror that returns a reflection of our youth to us.

4/14/2006 5:16 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

I knew them as 'kerbangers'. Never liked them, they always tangled up on me after one whack.

To be honest, I don't think I've ever outgrown a friend. I have lost touch with some, but I feel that if we ever met we could pick up where we left off. LOL, that's probably when I'd learn that I was outgrown by them.

I hang onto things, places, people... well, these guys said it best...

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Yeah, that about sums it up for me.

4/17/2006 8:21 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Thanks guys. I do hold onto those memories. Just becoming more and more obvious that those are really all that's left there. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still have enough affection for several old friends that I'd be available with only a phone call, for most any mission. But, yes, as you say, Opus, if we didn't have that time and met now, we'd never become friends.

Nate, I just want to say that I used to call them "knockers" (innocently, even)...but I thought I probably shouldn't do that here. And "In My Life" holds a great deal of special meaning to me. Thanks for sticking it up there. You made me smile today.

4/17/2006 8:42 AM  

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