Since high school, my mom has made it a habit to have me tag along with her at various school reunions. I went from enjoying them, to dreading them, and fully treasuring them and feeling extremely grateful that I get such an opportunity and privilege to witness such long lasting friendships.
Watching her interact with various friends from kindergarten to high school friends, has had a lasting impression on my perspective of relationships.
“Mei mei (little sister), remember when you’re dating, don’t bring a boy you are not yet serious about yet, around your friends. You really just never know,” one auntie turned to me and cautioned.
Now although they share such advice, I am more excited by the witness of their relationships with one another. Their conversations and time together that has been a testament of how important friendships are but also how much time changes them and even distance influences their growth individually and together.
I am not one with many close friends or even many friends in general. I know many, but I can guess that many wouldn’t say they would consider me someone close to them or someone they would usually confide in. This had saddened me for quite some time, but upon my time recently in Taiwan, and spending so much time with my parents’ friends, I’ve realized that even as many of these relationships had grown apart at a point in time, the space to grow and the time apart were needed. It has led many of them back to reminisce upon familiarity – just like a sense of having family. This is not to say that some if these relationships were not built with time, frustrations, forgiveness, energy, effort, acceptance, tears, and joy – any relationship needs a combination of the above. However, I am fully convinced that true friendships can survive even after years, oceans, and problems apart because those kinds of friends are people who have learned to love themselves and have grown themselves and therefore even after being apart from you, can come back to love you and accept your changes and growth just as they’ve accepted their own.
At one point, we are all going to struggle, to lose a loved one, to survive a tragedy, to succeed, to be busy, to be loved, to lose love, to see our family members change or grow or be ill or leave or move or marry or give birth…etc. because these happenings happen to all we will have commonalities and relatable events in our lives at some point. We may just encounter each at different times. Yet after it’s all done and said, who doesn’t want someone to share in those feelings and emotions even after the matter? People who are able to be there before, during, or after are all worthy of being a part of our stories and more importantly are essential to our lives. Friends may grow apart but at some point most, will always meet again at some intersection, even if it’s by chance.
I am excited to see what my future reunions look like, but meanwhile, I’m going to treasure more of my relationships before those start happening, and in am sitting at a table with all sorts of women laughing over uniform shirt from high school that they signed so beautifully. Although to be honest, in this day and age, are we still going to have such tangible memories to hold onto? Or will our memories be captured in a virtual time capsule that will need to be unlocked with some complex password and will be released into iCloud type system, in which, only those who have placed items within the file will have access to it? Though it sounds pretty awesome, I sure hope we will still have printed photos, old signed shirts, letters, etc.
For now, I’ll just enjoy my mom’s tangible memories.