In this day and age of constant communication, it can be a good and a bad thing when it comes to staying connected and reconnecting with people from your past. It is more than a few years since I was at school, and yet thanks to the nosiness of myself and others, and with the help of Facebook, I have re-established friendships that date back as far as infants school.
I openly admit to being useless with the ability of connecting names and faces, but if you also add to the mix the passage of time, and how it has changed us, it has at times taken a while to place a person, let alone recall who they were in my life all that time ago. Others, it is just like time has stood still. I lost touch with many of my school friends because I went to college in another town, while they continued at 6th form. We just drifted into different directions, which I think is what happens. When you are young, you think your best friends will always be there, and suddenly you turn around and lives have moved one with work, families, and other things that take priorities in your personal world. Its sad, but true that drifting apart will happen.
I have always been the type of person who likes to get on with people. It is easier to smile than frown after all. I therefore had quite a strange mix of people I socialized with during secondary school. Now some might say that anyone I hung out with had to be a little bit strange, but that’s not really what I mean. I didn’t have a set group of friends, but instead, I was happy to be an extra to many groups. That almost sounds sad, but it’s not, and was in fact a great positive, because it meant I had a wide circle. There were of course people I thought of as better friends than others!
A few of the really good friends from those days, I was so pleased when I “met” again on-line. It just seem right to have them back in my life. It was like these important parts of the puzzle that is my life had been found and put back into the picture. These people know who they are and know how much I value having them there. Maybe it is the impending half centuries for us that has bonded our pasts again. As one of these friends said recently, “let the cascade of big birthdays commence!”
The beauty of Facebook is that we are often passive observers of each others lives. It feels that we are part of what is going on. For me, now living 500 miles from where I call home, it has been great to be part of it all. It also means you have people who are a step removed when you need that friend to talk to.
As an autism family, it is always good to have other people who understand to talk to. I have been amazed by the number of old school chums who have some form of connection with the condition. It is not just helpful to talk to others about how it is for your familily, but also to see how different parts of the country offer assistance and support. One of my oldest, dearest friends from way back, has a son on the spectrum, and when M was diagnosed she was a great help and shoulder to us. I had only seen her a few times since leaving school, and yet when we were down in Basingstoke a few years back, it was the most natural thing to do, when she said to take the boys over. When we met up, it was as if the missing years hadn’t happened, as we hugged, and laughed. Hubby and the boys, loved her and her boys instantly. It was great. Roll forward a few more years, and we arranged a weekend. She was coming up to visit with her middle son – she has 3.
D came with me to pick her up, and other than their flight being extremely delayed, we had a good look around the airport. When they arrived, both her son and mine – as well as everyone else in the airport, must have thought we were mad, as we screamed and hugged each other!! They stayed at the hotel near where we live, as we have no spare room, and it also meant the boys didn’t have the pressure of them being here totally.
The Saturday morning, I collected them to bring them over for breakfast. D was fine, not talkative but he at least was in the same room. M on the other hand was too frightened to come down the stairs – he just couldn’t remember having met them before. Eventually he came down and went straight to the computer with his headphones on. After we had eaten, D put on Minecraft and started playing with our junior guest. M eventually came over to see what they were doing. It was lovely to see how people who understand the pain strangers in the house cause M were able to allow him to join the proceedings in his time rather than trying to force it. By the time we went out to visit Dunnator Castle, M was happily chatting away, and happy to go off with his new friends. We went for ice-cream on the way back, and there was the usual hour queue at Aunty Bettys in Stonehaven, and the boys went down to the beach together while we waited – but they all managed to find their way to us to give their orders!!! By the evening, M was totally under the spell of my old school friend as we played Uno in teams, and he was paired with her. The 2 of them were playing silly beggars sat on a bean bag, and it was lovely to see. Within 12 hours he had gone from frightened creature to the life and soul of the party!!
The next day M wanted to take them to the park to show them one of his favourite places. He was so upset when part of the winter gardens was closed for refurbishment, so we had to go for pizza!!!
When we dropped them back at the airport, the boys happily high-fived them, and even went as far as a distance hug. I was sad to see my friend leaving, but so happy that spending time together had been just like old times.
As we drove home, M said he could understand why she had been a life long friend. There is no greater compliment from him. D on the other hand told me that he could understand why I was bonkerama having a friend like that!!! Again a compliment that only D could deliver.
D then asked if we could go down south to visit them some day. He has since then developed this plan to a visit to London, and started listed where he wanted to go, including at the moment the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and LEGOLAND!!! He said if we plan it for 2017, it will give us plenty of time to save up!!
We all had a great weekend and it made me realise how old friends are still so important in our lives. We don’t have to see each other every day, for them to have that place in our hearts.