Oh, yeah, this ain't running related either, so all those who are only interested in my running "sans shoes", go get a cup of tea and meet me next week..
I have just read a fantastic post by one of my "FaceBook" friends, (a.k.a people I actually like but maybe haven't met - at least not in a long while), about letting go of relationships - in fact friendships. I won't reference her blog post because she is a private person and like me, probably hopes as few people read what she has to say and those that do are like-minded.
She was talking about letting go of "poisonous relationships" and how we need to be true to ourselves. Yep, before you ask, I have had a couple glasses of wine, so forgive me for being deep. It happens occasionally - really it does!
It led me to remembering a number of friendships of mine that have gone "sour" in the past and how sometimes breaking strong relationships can actually make you grow as a person and although is a negative in the beginning, it leads to stronger bonds in the future.
It has only happened a few times and although initially it was painful, I am now grateful for the break.
My first friendship that I broke was with my best friend at the age of 17. Looking back I am not sure how it really happened, (I think it was over a guy and my inability to recoginse social cues). However, it broke me deeply. She was my copy, we stayed over at each others houses, we used to talk to each other till 2AM, either via phone or in person. We were so in-sync we could finish each others sentences. It was almost freaky. Then somehow it went wrong. I remember being heartbroken for the first time in my life and for a little while it destroyed me. I made the decision to distance the friendship. She moved, I found a boyfriend and then we almost forgot each other. It took me years to recover.
Years later after a few emails in-between we finally hook-up on facebook and although the interaction is probably small to what it used to be, it seemed familiar. After, Twenty years, I think we found we haven't moved too far apart. Okay, our life-styles are different; she's married- no kids; I am married with a kooky kid, despite this, I can still see that connection. It's not as in-sync as it used to be, but yep, I think deep down we still think on the same wave-lengths. It's comforting to think that friends are friends no matter what. I like the person she is, I am so glad that we have become friends again. She makes me smile, she is intelligent and she is fun. It's good.
Last year I had to break another deep relationship. Our friendship was forged on being in a strange country, with kids and no family. We moved within a week apart and after a couple of months she was one of my best friends and we clung to each other, like drowning sailors probably cling to the same life-bouy. A couple of years later, my little family made the decision to move to Australia and our friendship, due to distance, began to fade.
On our decision to move back to Vancouver, I think the relationship began to be strained. She was never happy in Canada and the thought that we would make a decision to actually come-back was abhorrent. Initially I think this wasn't an issue, but after she made a visit back to the UK, I think my decision to choose my little family over my parents in the UK rubbed a nerve. Coupled with issues with my Son that I think she felt was my fault instead of the Autism he was later diagnosed with, our relationship failed. I am not sure she truly believed D had mild Autism and that his behaviour was due to my parenting.
I had weeks, months even, of not understanding her behaviour. Times where I would double-check what I was doing because I believed it was my fault I was upsetting her, although now I think it's because of my decisions. I would be in tears because I couldn't understand how I had turned into this un-sympathetic monster she had portrayed.
Eventually, I couldn't handle the upset and strife, especially with everything else that was going on. I knew that there was nothing I could say or do that would make anything right in her eye's, so I backed off. We didn't have play-dates or meet-ups. We didn't get together and all telephone conversations were strained.
She left in the Summer to go back to the UK, which is what she wanted all along. I have to admit at the end I was relieved. I haven't had much contact since. In the last 6 months since she has left, D has come on leaps and bounds. He goes to school, he controls himself and he is free to be himself. Is it because I am a better parent? Has my parenting style changed? Nope, I have just not had the negative influence to doubt myself. I got him the help he needed. I have just begun to believe in myself - that I knew what I was doing. It turns out, I did.
Am I now sad that my recent BFF relationship failed? No. Seeing the decisions I have made outside of her influence, I am grateful I stood up to be myself. That I went the way of what I thought was best for my family. Even now, despite losing my Mother, despite being so far-away from my family, I know that my Son is doing so much better here than he ever would have done in the UK. It hurts, but I know in the long run, going against her opinions has meant my son will have a better life.
I am hoping that in the future our friendship will go back; not to being as close as it was; but to a point where we can be happy for each other and we respect the differences in our parenting. I am not sure it will happen, but I hope.
On looking back on those friendships I am grateful for many things. I am grateful for Friendships that are broken, but through time are re-forged. I am grateful for the friends I have. Those that love me and accept the decisions I make. They may not agree with them, but their advice is constructive, not destructive. I am grateful for friendships that are made with no real physical presence. Sometimes those that get to know us best are those that see us when we rant and rave in the internet-ether. There are no judgements.
Ultimately I am glad that I managed to stand firm in my decisions. That I trusted my little family and I made decisions best for them. To see my little family grow and thrive because they are themselves is the greatest present I could have. I know I realised this early on, but I am glad to be reminded that, being myself, openly and accepting my critics, is ultimately the best thing I can do for myself and those I love. It's the best lesson I can teach my Son.
Yep, a very thoughtful post - normal, nonchalant, wonton rudeness will commence again next week!