I Miss My Old Friend

by Annie Reneau
Originally Published:

Hey, old friend:

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Not too long, of course — we never let too much time go by without at least checking in. But it’s been long enough for the little ache in my heart to set in. For the missing you to start. For the missing “us” to hit.

It’s amazing to find ourselves in this place, isn’t it? Here we are, living the lives we used to daydream about in our flannel pajama pants and college sweatshirts. The married life. The professional life. The mom life. This is it — this is the future we used to look forward to with excitement and fear and wonder. And overall, I am truly happy.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss those faraway years — and you along with them. Sometimes I long for the days when hanging out was as simple as walking down the hall, or at worst, across campus. When our time and energy were our own. When we didn’t have to plan get-togethers a year in advance or organize reunions involving plane tickets and child care and precious vacation time.

Sometimes I wish we could go back, just for a little while. I wish we could revisit the time when friendships were formed and solidified simply through becoming who we were. When we cried together over broken hearts and laughed together over Thursday night television. When we stood arm-in-arm and stared into a wide-open future where everything felt possible, catching occasional glimpses of who we would become.

I love the friends I’ve made as a full-on grownup, and I’m sure you do too. But there’s something unique and special about the relationships we formed during those years of becoming. We grew into ourselves together, you and I. We clung to each other for dear life through the upheavals of youth, making sure we knew the other was there to soften our falls as we made — or attempted — our first leaps into adulthood.

We were there for one another. Always. And even though distance and families and schedules and the awesome busy-ness of this stage of life often gets in the way, I know we’re still there for one another. It may sound trite and silly to say that we’re always together in spirit, but we really are. No matter how many miles or hours there are between us, I know you are still a soft place I can land if I need to.

I can’t tell you how much I love to see you all these years later. When I look at your beautiful aging face, I’m transported back to silly dorm room dancing and late-night heart-to-hearts. You remind me that I will always be young on the inside, that the girl I was then is still a part of me.

Teddy Tavan/Stocksnap

And yet we’ve seen so much since then, lived so much since then. My god, it’s been so many years — just look at how far we’ve come. It seems like yesterday, and yet so much has happened. We’ve changed so much, and yet in so many ways, we are who we’ve always been.

I love that we not only became, but that we are also still becoming together. We’ve witnessed one another’s trials and triumphs even if it’s been long-distance. We’ve loved one another’s babies even if we haven’t always been there to hold them and smell their sweet heads. We’ve been friends through so much big life stuff that we never could have anticipated, and through it all I’ve always known I could call on you if I needed to. And honestly, just knowing that has often been enough.

I wish we could get quality face-to-face time more often, but such is life. I miss you though. I miss us. And I’m so incredibly grateful for our friendship in all of its stages. I love knowing that once we’re past these crazy busy kid years we’ll (hopefully) get to see each other more. And I love knowing that I always have someone who can remind me, just with their presence, of who and where I’ve been.

Love you, old friend. Here’s to you, and to “us,” and to many more years of becoming, together.

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