About a week ago I received a phone call from my friend Mary. She and I hadn't spoken in over a year. Mary was calling to yell at me because she did not receive a Christmas card from me. The reason she knew I had snubbed her was because she had seen my post with our family picture and it pissed her off that she saw it there first.
I will admit I have gotten kind of lazy with the Christmas cards in my "old" age. In my glory days I would have had the family picture taken, letter written and cards sent out by December 1st.
However, life changes and it is rare for my five children to be in the same place very often, so this year's picture was taken December 22nd, there was no long update letter (I figure if anyone wants to know what's going on with us all they have to do is look at the website), and I thought it was pretty amazing I had printed family picture cards out the door by December 24th.
Now I only send cards to close family and to those I receive cards from. Needless to say my friend Mary forgave me. (The last address she had for us was three houses ago so, in her defense, if she had tried to send me a card it would have landed back in her mailbox).
What I love about Mary, and my few good friends like her, is it doesn't matter how long it has been since we have spoken, we can pick right up where we left off. Okay, sometimes I have to ask how old the kids are again (middle age is fogging my memory), but we quickly get into honest, "real" conversation.
My closest friends (outside of my husband and my mom) all live in Wisconsin. I don't know if it is the months of frigid temps, the deeply instilled values and work ethic, or the love of all things cheesy, but I have always found the people I can be myself with the most live in that great state.
Which doesn't mean I don't have some close friends in Texas. However, after almost seven years of living here, I cannot say I have been able to develop a really close friendship with anyone I have met. You know, the kind of relationship where if you have an emergency you can just pick up the phone and ask for help. Building a friendship takes time, which, sadly, none of us has enough of these days.
Finding friends has always been a challenge for me. I envy people who can just walk into a room and instantly become friends with everyone there. My dad is one of those lucky souls. In all honesty, I have never understood how to go from social chatting with someone you pass in the grocery store to asking if they would want to have coffee, or from regularly chatting with someone at the gym to going out to dinner as a foursome.
I feel like I might creep someone out if I ask too soon and then, for whatever reason, it doesn't happen at all.
I also find, the older I get, and actually the more I write, I have gotten more choosey about who I want to spend my time with.
Am I lonely sometimes...yes. But I have turned down invites [on occasion] because going out would mean donning a mask I no longer care to wear.
I am so grateful for my few good friends. Those who haven't ever seen my mask, and who wouldn't know who I was if I tried to put it on.