Reading through the posts of the LDW Facebook group recently, I saw an especially strong theme of friendship. Some were looking for extra support, some had received help and love and wanted to express gratitude, some were sharing good news. I smile to think of the friends I have made through this group, even though I may never meet some of them in real life. We share goals, struggles, and triumphs.
Finding, making, and keeping friends is easier for some of us than others. I am easy to talk to, but I do have an introverted personality, so certain venues (where I might meet new friends) are exciting, but overwhelming. I'm realizing with each passing year, though, that each one of us needs friends!
When my husband was in medical school, we were newlyweds and I had a part-time job. We lived in the same city where we'd attended college, so we had some built-in friends. Looking back, it seemed relatively easy to keep up with others and have a pretty good time.
Things began to change during my husband's residency. It was a small, busy, intense program. My husband got to know some of his co-residents pretty well, but there was hardly any time for them to get together for recreation. We were brand new parents by this time, too. I was overjoyed by being a mother, but my circle of friends started to shrink. I didn't get out too much those first few years. Once our son was a toddler, I sought out mommy groups and neighbors. By the time residency was done five years later, I had a few close circles of friends, and it was wonderful. However, I could count on a few fingers how many of those friends were from within the medical community.
When we moved for V's first post-training job, our next door neighbors became the best friends we'd had in a long time. Our kids (we had another baby during 4th year of residency) loved playing together, and the mom and I got to know each other quite well. Her husband had a job that required shift work, so she understood a lot about crazy hours. I was sad to move from that house, even though I knew the friendship would endure.
Here I am now, two years into my husband's second post-training job, and I am just starting to feel like I have good friends that go beyond acquaintances. It's gotten harder to carve out the time for friends as I've aged. However, now that both of my kids are in school, I have a bit more freedom for my own interests. It takes time, and trust, and honesty, and patience, and kindness, and more time, to make true friends.
I know all of you realize the importance of friendship, but it seemed fitting for me to pay tribute to all the true friends out there today. I'll wrap this up by sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago:
Listen as much as they speak
Encourage when we are weak
Laugh with us till we cry
Encourage when life is one long sigh
Pause their lives to lend an ear
When there are sobs and prayers to hear
Smile and share in delight
When there is only sunshine in sight
Can be incredibly hard to find
As our life’s path begins to wind
Around the world or around the bend
What a precious gift, to find a true friend!
Cheers, to all the good friends in our lives, near and far! I am an on-the-go mom to two school-aged kids, and wife to a hard-working, super ENT husband.