I can’t actually believe what I have heard today, schools in London are taking on a policy of banning their pupils having best friends. What utter rubbish. This has really annoyed me because who has the right to stop anyone forming friendships whether a best friend or acquaintance?
The theory goes like this, if children are not able to make close friendships then they don’t get hurt when those friendships break down.
Right, I have to say this:
I moved around a lot as a child, wherever I lived I always had a best friend. I also had fall outs with those friends and some of these fall outs were patched up, others were not. I loved my friends and I confided in them about everything. We got each other through puberty, fancying boys, horrible teachers, periods, boobs, sex, parent gripes. Without my friends, and although this is plural, I mean the ones who were my best friends, without all of them school life would have been hell. If I hadn’t been ”allowed” best friends by the school this wouldn’t have stopped me, most of my friendship moments happened outside of school. Admittedly it was school that meant I met these people, but school had no say on whether this was sustained. I can understand how schools would like all children to play together, no one be left out and ultimately wipe out bullying because all the kids get on, but in reality that just doesn’t work. As adults we gel with some and not others, as children it is the same. I have to say I don’t think I ever became good friends with the person I was buddied up with in each new school!!
As an adult, I have been through friendships and my marriage fell apart, none of those relationships would I have come through so well if I hadn’t experienced what I did as a child. Children don’t just need academic teaching, they need to learn about social lives and friendship and what better way to do that than to be able to make and lose friends when younger, so that as adults we know how to make friends and keep them, or move on! Even now, and I am sure for the rest of my life, I will make friends, I will lose friends and I will laugh cry and beat myself up over things that go on with my friends but I wouldn’t change any of the friends I have had. They say everyone comes into our lives for a reason and whether that is for a short time or a long time, no one has the right to tell anyone, child or adult, who they should and shouldn’t be close too!!
So here’s my best friends, from about the age of 7 to the present day, if your reading this let me know, especially the ones I’ve lost contact with coz that would be a real surprise!!!
Alison Lake, Emma Entwistle, Vicky Miles, Kelly Anderson, Jennie Sanders, Jayne Williams, Tanya McLean, Jo Inch, Jo Harvey
You’re all listed with the names I knew you by and I know some of you have married. I love all of you for being in my life, I wouldn’t change the friends I have had, you have all taught me something very important. Now lets make sure that schools see how silly this idea of banning best friends is!!
I’ve been thinking about writing a post about friendships for a little while now. The main reason I haven’t is because I don’t want to cause upset and also because sometimes the words don’t sound how they are meant. So bear with me and we will see what happens.
I’ve never been one to have loads of friends. I tend to have a few friends but the ones I have are good ones that I can talk to about anything. Since experiencing the worst deception from a friend almost 4 years ago, it is safe to say that I am and continue to be wary of new friends. There is no way of knowing if a friend will deceive you. There is no way of knowing what the future holds.
Not long after H was born I got involved in some groups at my local Children’s Centre and made some really good friends. They restored my faith in friendship, nights out were back on the agenda and all was good. Unfortunately, as happens in life, we all went our own way. One moved to Australia, another found a new group of friends nearer her home and the rest of us just don’t see each other much because of work, new babies and other commitments.
Now from my point of view, I have tried. Obviously when someone moves to the other side of the world it’s hard to see each other but I am sure we will see each other again and continue to keep in touch. When I see others from the old group I let them know my day off and say for them to give me a shout when they are free. The calls or texts never come. It hurts but I know we all have our own lives and things are always harder with kids about. Thing is though, there are only so many times I will try and get together with someone before I decide that my effort is in vain. Friendship has to be two ways surely?
My friends now consist of Mr D, friends of ours who live 30 minutes away and my family. Of course I have friends around the country from previous chapters of my life, but right now, there’s not really anyone who is my friend, who comes over for coffee, who I can tell everything to. That sort of friendship takes time, and in the last 4 years no one has stayed around in my life long enough to develop that kind of friendship.
So I’ve begun to wonder if it’s me. Having been diagnosed with depression last week I’ve thought a lot about me. Do I drive people away with my fear of being hurt by them, or am I no fun to be around? I do find it hard to approach people, I hate the school playground and cannot just walk up to a group of mums and join in, but a part of me is hoping that when H starts school in September, it will be a new start for me too and hopefully I’ll find a like minded mum who will stick around in my life!
I have two major things changing in my life right now and they are feeling like the hardest things to deal with right now. So I am opening up in the hope that my lovely readers can help me through it all!
The first is the fact that I have gone back to work after 2 years of being a stay at home single mum. It’s not the job, that’s a challenge, a lot to learn – but I have some fantastic colleagues and my boss is brilliant. It’s the changes at home that I thought I was prepared for but it turns out, I wasn’t! H has been going to nursery 1 afternoon a week for just over a year now. I started her going when I thought I had my old job to go back to after my maternity leave. When that fell through I kept her there for two reasons, firstly for the social aspect. At the time I had no real friends here and it was good for us to have a few hours break from each other and her mix with other young children. I also did it to keep her place there as I knew I would eventually return to work and after being on the waiting list and getting a place I didn’t want to lose that.
Last week I returned to work and H was in nursery for 2 1/2 days. The first day she willingly went in and toddled off without even a second glance to me. Great. It had worked. She already knew the place, the staff and the children. Day two she was a little less willing but still no tears and day 3 was the same. Then she was off for 4 days. She was full of cold for those four days, with a high temperature and just generally not herself. Monday morning came around and although I was on my day off, I took her as her routine needs establishing. She screamed the place down when I passed her over as she refused to walk in herself. She was very clingy when I collected her and it has been the same all week. Tonight she came home and wouldn’t let me go. She is eating, but not like she used to. She is still fighting off the tail end of the cold she had. She won’t eat anything but banana and raisins for breakfast – she was eating weetabix or rice crispies before and breakfast has never been a chore with her. More concerning than that is that she isn’t drinking. She used to drink on average 6 cups of various drinks throughout the day. Now I take her to nursery with a beaker of juice, she comes home and hasn’t finished it. She doesn’t have a full drink with breakfast and today had drunk nothing from 5pm to 7pm. She was screaming for juice but wouldn’t drink it. In the end good old Grandma came round and help me to get her to drink something before bed, without making it a big issue. It’s all so out of character for me and as she has never been a crying baby or toddler I have to admit it really upset me tonight. I seemed unable to give her what she wanted!
I was expecting difficulties with the change of routine but I wasn’t prepared for this! She is teething too and seems to have a sore mouth which doesn’t help. But not only that, I am conscious that with how clingy she has become, B is feeling it too that there is no time for me and her these days. On the plus there though, it is Easter holidays after tomorrow, and both weeks I have made sure I have a day off where it’s just me and B so hopefully that side of things will be better soon.
To top all this off, I am also having to say “Bon Voyage” to my very dear friend Mumtoj who is emigrating to Australia next Wednesday. I met her about a year ago, but in the last 7 months our friendship has grown to one of those you just know will stand the test of time. I have known for ages that she would be going back to Oz with her family just as soon as they sold their house and I’ll be honest and say that in the back of mind initially I didn’t want to get close because saying goodbye is just so hard. However, I am glad I didn’t listen to that little voice because our friendship is something I’m glad I will have in my heart forever. On paper we are so different, but it works. We talk about anything and everything and I am completely myself with her. Not just that but her J and my H are the best of friends even though he is 2 1/2 years older than her, they play together so well and are very close. So on Saturday we are going for our last day out. We are hopefully (weather dependent) taking all 3 kids to the seaside for the day, with fish and chips, buckets and spades and lots of laughter. I can’t wait, but at the same time, I am dreading the end of the day. I don’t want to say goodbye. I’m a jibbering wreck when I say goodbye to people. Plus I have to stay strong for the kids, H won’t understand properly, but B and J will. I’m not alone in saying goodbye though, she said her goodbyes to the rest of our group of friends today and I know they feel the same. I wish her all the luck in the world and I really hope she will find happiness with her family down under.
(I know she hates this pic but it’s the only one I have of the 2 of us!!! Sorry Mumtoj!!)
So there we go, the hardest things in the world right now for me. I love my life and I know change is good, but sometimes change can be very hard to adjust to!
I’m sure everyone has read the email which circulates regularly, with the message that people are in our lives for a specific reason. I don’t remember the exact words but you will know the one I mean. Now I seem to remember it says that friends enter our lives for either a reason, a season or a lifetime. I think that’s a really nice way to look of it instead of labelling people as “fair weather” friends. So in a nutshell, you have those friends who come into our lives when we need them, but only stay until that need has passed. This would be friends who you work with, who never become friends out of work and you loose contact when one or the other leaves the work place. Then you have the friends who are in your life for a considerable amount of time, but all seasons come to a natural end and so is the same with this type of friendship. Maybe this would cover friends at school or University. You share a big part of your life but then when life takes the next turn, your friendships change. Then, once in a while, your lucky enough to find a friend who stays in your life forever. The friend that you can move away from but still be as close to. The friend who would travel to the ends of the earth to help you at 3am for what ever reason.
I find it hard these days to forge friendships because I had the trust completely taken advantage of by a friend I thought was in my life for a lifetime. However, I have made new friends and kept hold of lots of old ones. At this moment in time I would say I only have 1 definite “lifetime” friend, one who I have worked with, got drunk with, talked through my marriage breakup with, live the length of the country from and only see once or twice a year – but it’s always as though we’ve never had great gaps in contact and I see myself as so priveledged to have this kind of friendship. I do however have 3 friends right now who I class as much more than reason, and hope they are not seasonal – but havn’t known them long enough yet to class as “lifetime”. But, as is the natural cycle, we are reaching a joint end of season and as much as we all look forward to what life holds for each one of us, I for one am also a little apprehensive about what will happen to the dynamics of our friendships.
Today was the penultimate day where the 4 of us will be in a room together for probably some time if not ever. We met at the Children’s Centre to have a little surprise “Good Luck” party for mumtoj who is hopefully moving to Oz in the next few weeks. We didn’t manage to get her to shed a tear (although admit it, you were close to it when I dropped you home after!), however, I felt a pang of realisation that it’s all change now!! Also in the room was another brilliant friend MummyMatters who is happily 3 months pregnant, about to move (only down the road) and the fantastic BS (who hasn’t been convinced she should Blog yet), who is hoping to go to college in September and then on to Uni to get into nursing. Oh and me, starting work on Monday and so won’t be able to get to all our weekly groups. It’s all change, and all for the good but the chances are some of us will lose touch, if not in the short term then quite possible over time, events in life will make it harder to keep the friendships to what they have been. So, here is my message to my friends, and also to anyone who has lost touch with friends and feels regret:
I love our friendship
Remember the fun times we had, smile at the pictures and laugh with the memories and know that I am sat doing the same.
I hope I touched your life like you did mine, you made a difference and without you my life would be very different now.
It’s sad that sometimes we lose touch with people who mean the world to us, but know this – you mean as much to me now, as you did when we laughed and cried together, you mean as much to me now as the friend I am sharing stories with, and whenever I think of you I hope you are happy and loved with other friends in my place.
Too all my friends, past, present and future I thank you for making me the person I have grown into today, and the person I will become tomorrow.
I have just realised that kind of sounds like I am walking away from my friendships, that’s not the case, I just want you all to know that should life mean we grow apart, well that’s just what life is like and it doesn’t change the fact that you are all, and always will be, in my heart!
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