I don't have a lot of friends from childhood. I know people who do. I know people who have their elementary school friends, their middle school friends, their high school friends. Maybe I'm just not a good keep-in-touch-er.
But I do have one friend from elementary school. We met in 6th grade and immediately started spending all of our time together. She was my best friend from 6th grade to 10th grade.
In 10th grade she transferred to another high school, and while we didn't spend as much time together, we definitely kept in touch.
When I went away to college, she joined the military. We kept in touch through letters. She was lonely and miserable in the military. Her letters were full of stories about how every female in her unit was sleeping with all of their male supervisors, the infidelity and STDs that were rampant. Every letter included a countdown of when she could come home, when her time would be over, lists of things she missed.
Email was a pretty new thing, and mostly used for forwarding jokes (since not everyone checked it reliably enough to send anything important via email), so I would print out email pages full of jokes circulating around my college and send them with my letters. Eventually, she asked me to stop because my letters were arriving with postage due.
Her first break home, she married her high school boyfriend and got pregnant. I think she saw it as the cure to her homesickness. It wasn't. Instead, she was worried about how her husband and the baby were doing at home, and she beat herself up for being a bad mother and leaving her newborn.
We lost touch again for a few years again towards the end of college and my first year of law school. She must have gotten my law school address from my parents - because she reconnected with me by sending a new family portrait, including her second child.
Now... we keep in touch sporadically. We always see each other over Christmas. In between, we see each other a couple of times, we talk on the phone maybe once a month. I feel a commitment to staying in touch, and sometimes call even though I don't feel like it. Sometimes it feels more like a chore.
It's tough. We just have very different lives. If I met her today (without a decade of history behind us), I doubt we'd be friends.
But I feel like there is something worthwhile about maintaining an old friendship.
Not only do we have very different lives, but we also have a very hard time relating to each other's lives.
I come home from work, and, some nights, I can barely muster up enough energy to shove a slice of pizza in my mouth before I fall asleep. Some weekends I really do spend the entire weekend prepping a trial, or going to crime scenes. And I enjoy it, I love what I do.
I cannot imagine working full time and coming home to two children. I cannot imagine going to work in the morning to a job that is just "work" to me.
I wouldn't trade my life, and I don't think she would trade hers.
But I feel offended that if I want to make work my life, that isn't seen as valid, but if she wants to make her children her life, it is.
Yes, she's a mother, and she's helping shape their little lives and whatnot...
But my job is important too! It's not like I'm working in some crappy job. I'm helping people too!
Anyway, I raise all this because she left a message on my cell phone the other night that said, (in a tone that I took to be quite snide), "Hey, I haven't heard from you in a while. I guess you're busy. I don't know... It's not like you're working full-time and raising two children..."
Grrrr. No, you're just going to an office job where you sit on your ass all day and I'm getting people out of jail and getting yelled at by judges and running all around and working twice as many hours as you and I still get to pay back law school loans.
I know that I need to just cut her some slack and not let it be a big deal.
But it really annoyed me. And I'm really feeling like I just don't want to call her back.
Like, maybe, ever.
And, another part of me thinks that I have to because... get this stupid reason... it's somehow really wrong to not have any childhood friends. That's stupid, right?
So, I don't know. I thought writing it all out might help me figure something out. I guess, in the end, I'll probably just let it go for a few days and then forget all about it. Because that's the way I am.
But I'm willing to hear some advice or perspective, if you've got it.