What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A long post about my friend

I have had so may posts compiled in my head for the last week (almost) since I last posted, but haven't written them because I didn't have the pictures I wanted to attach available. So stupid. So I am going to write them and attach the pictures soon, but I have something on my mind for now.

For a few days now I have been planning on calling my best friend Eric. Notice the planning statement, I didn't say that I did call him. Why? Good question. I wish I knew. Actually maybe I do, I just can't figure out how to get past it. Some background (this is going to be a little long):

We have been friends for so long. In fact, next year it will be 20 years that we have been friends. Wow. Anyway, we met in our freshman year of HS and it didn't take long before we were pretty much inseparable. We spent so much time together and on the phone. We shared so much. My family welcomed him at holidays and outings. He became such an important part of my life, that I had a really hard time when he made some friends outside of school and me. As he explored and came to accept his sexuality, I felt very left out. It's crazy to think about now (and a little embarrassing), but I was very jealous of his first boyfriend. Not in a "I want to be your girlfriend" kind of way, but more like I was afraid that the new friends he was making would make me seem boring and not worth the effort. When he came out to me, I was very proud that he could tell me and trust me with it. But the friends that he made were gay and older and presumably more exciting than me. He dropped out of HS to go to Beauty School, and I saw him less. Life was happening to him while I was still in school.

I came out in the spring of my senior year and started dating Shell. He was a great support to me and was the only friend I had who could understand and stand beside me. We reconnected, but now I was spending most of my time with Shell and he was dealing with his life. After Shell graduated, we moved into an apartment with Eric and our friend Lennea. Over the course of the year we lived there, many people came and went and our relationship had some real tests. Shell and I moved into a place of our own, and Eric and I grew close again over time.

When we moved to CO, it took a toll on our friendship. We were so far removed from each others lives, that we didn't seem to have anything in common anymore. We were hardly even talking on the phone when he called me at work one day to tell me that his mom had died. He was sobbing and the pain in his voice broke my heart. What I felt erased everything that had happened over the years. He was my friend. I loved him and it pained me deeply to know that he was hurting. I got on a plane that night and flew to CA. I could only stay for a few days, which made me feel like I wasn't doing enough. But I spent every moment I could with him. It was where I was supposed to be.

His life spiraled downhill after his mom died. I felt useless so far away, and didn't feel like I could help him. He was moving from place to place, and there were long periods of time that I didn't hear from him and I worried about him constantly. I felt like I should be doing more, but I didn't know what. Shell & I were in the process of trying to get pregnant and I felt that our struggle was miniscule compared to what Eric was going through.

Life settled down a little after the kids were born. Eric had a boyfriend and they were living together. They both came to visit for the first time when the babies were 9 months old. I realized how much I had missed him. He was Uncle Eric to my children, still is. They warmed up to him so fast, which made me really happy. The next time he visited, it was just him and we had such a good time. The kids were a little older and were able to interact with him more. They grew very attached to him. He comes to visit when he can, and we all enjoy the time with him and are sad every time that he has to leave. When Shell & I had our commitment ceremony in Las Vegas, I chose Eric to be my Best Man. Because of work, he was stuck in L.A. longer than we planned. He arrived in Las Vegas just a couple of hours before the ceremony. Along with my sister, he did my hair and makeup and helped me get ready. I felt so beautiful, thanks to them. After our reception, he drove back to L.A. and went to work the next morning. I can't imagine getting married without him, so I am so grateful that he made the sacrifice for me.

So, life is full for us both now. Our lives are very different, but our friendship has evolved to embrace those differences. There are times that we talk every day, and other times a week goes by, sometimes longer. I miss him a lot. There are many times that I wish he was here to share moments in my life and my children's lives. They adore him. I don't blame them. I love him like a member of my family, sometimes more. In my heart, he is part of my family. And just like with my sisters, I don't call as often as I should. The truth is, they (my sisters and Eric) call me way more than I call them. And I think that the reason for this is mostly true for all of them. First, I'm busy and a little lazy. Whatever. Secondly, I think that the fact that my relationship with Shell is one that I fought against my family for, so I hesitate to complain about it. When Shell and I are having problems, I don't share this with my family. It's silly, I know. But somewhere in my mind I think that if I acknowledge that all is not always great in our life that it confirms that I made a wrong choice. Couples have problems, regardless of their makeup. I know this, but it still holds me back. And when things are great, I don't feel like I don't have anything to talk about, so why call? With Eric, I let laziness get me most of the time. I love when he calls. I want to hear about what is going on with him. I just usually feel like I don't have anything interesting to share with him. The other day when he called, I went on and on about how sad it makes me that I won't be getting any Christmas presents from Shell, since we agreed that we are not exhanging gifts to save on money. After hanging up with him, I felt so shallow and silly about what I had said. I'm really complaining about that? I'm not getting gifts from my wife, poor me. I feel so stupid, and I haven't talked to him since then. Well, he called to ask about a gift he saw for my girl, but that was it.

So none of this explains why I'm not doing my part in this friendship and calling my best friend more often. There is no good reason. Simply put, I feel that I don't have something worthwhile to add to the conversation most days. My complaints and worries would not be considered problems to most people. I'm pretty sure that Eric doesn't look at it this way, but sometimes he might. I'd hate to become the friend that he doesn't want to call because I complain about petty things or just have boring things to talk about. I don't want that. And I don't think he'd ever tell me if that became the case. He doesn't really talk about our friendship, good or bad. So I'm left to worry about it. It's so counterproductive.

The bottom line is that I love this guy for all his strengths and weaknesses. I've seen him go through so much in the close to 20 years that I've known him, and I am proud of him for the integrity and character that he continues to show. I feel lucky that he considers me his friend and shares his life with me, the good and the bad. I wish all the time that I could tell him this, but the times that I have tried to tell him, he kind of shrugs it off. I hope that he knows.
Me & Eric, 2005

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