Three little words, but three extremely important words.
I read these words today, and they spoke to me.
These days I often think (and admittedly worry) about my girls making deep friendships. Maybe not now, but in the future. I completely understand that the friends they make now may not be their friends forever, but I hope that they find some loving friends who they can count on when they need them. That they find their tribe. We all need a tribe of like-minded people who accept us for the good and the bad.
I remember primary school. I loved my friends and I did anything for them. That's the type of person I am. Ardyn is only 6, but has formed what she thinks are deep friendships, and I would me more than happy if these friendships stayed deep and lasted the distance. She has some beautiful friends, and they have some wonderful parents. Life is easier if you have a tribe.
Life as a kid should be easy. Having a tribe makes it easier.
I was lucky enough in Year 4 to meet a girl who I would come to consider my bestest of friends. I had other friends, but she was my tribe. I cry now as I remember our friendship. It was so special to me. She made my life good, and I could count on her when I needed her. And she could count on me. I would do anything for her. And I still would if I knew where she was.
We lost touch. It was no fault of ours, it was the adults in our lives. Circumstance. We tried to keep in touch, but there were oceans between us.
As an adult, looking back, I still wish that there was more that I could have done. But I was just a kid. We both were. As an adult I know the signs, as a kid.....I had no idea.
Heather came to our school at the end of Year 4. She had a brother Scott, and a mum and dad. Mum was American and dad was Canadian (or perhaps the other way around). We clicked very quickly. We were inseparable.
She was scruffy. We were both tom boys. We were both scruffy. We climbed trees. We rode bikes. We joked and laughed. I remember how funny she was. She was a prankster, and loved to laugh. We were pretty happy kids, living the life that kids should live.
I didn't understand what it meant when her mum moved out. I didn't understand what it meant that she lived in a home with other ladies, and that Scott and Heather visited her on the weekends. There was talk of court dates. I didn't understand that either.
I didn't understand why her dad was always drinking beer/scotch and sleeping on the couch (which was actually a double bed in the lounge room).
I didn't understand what it meant when in Year 5 she said that "I tried to mend my dad's pants, and he didn't like how I did it. So he banged my head into the sewing machine."
I didn't understand what it meant when in Year 6 she was late for the State Cross Ball Championships and she said "Sorry. I was making my vegemite sandwich for lunch and dad doesn't like it, so he rubbed it in my face. I had to go and wash and change again."
I'm now an adult, and I now understand. Why didn't I tell my parents. They would have understood. They would have done something.
We went to different high schools, but that didn't matter as we lived close enough to still see each other out of school. We spent the weekends together when she wasn't at her mum's, and then one Sunday she didn't turn up. I tried to call her all day and no one answered. I had no idea what was going on. I was so worried.
She called late that night. I thought she was joking when she said "Dad killed mum this morning. I'm at a foster home." Such a prankster - but it wasn't a prank.
Even now, I can't contemplate it. There is so much more that we went through together, but that's neither here nor there. The most important thing to me at that time was that she left.
After a stint in foster care, she and her brother were shipped off to Arizona to live with family. We kept in touch, she came back (yay!), and was then shipped off to Canada (boo!). This time for good.
This was the first time my heart broke over a lost friendship. I still cry for her. For her lost childhood. But it shows you how strong the call of the tribe can be. It also shows you how when I invest in a freindship, I invest in a friendship. I take my tribe very seriously.
Oh God I would love to know where she is.
Years later, I think I was in my late 20s, she came knocking on our door. Back in Australia. She had studied Criminology. I had studied Forensics. We were very similar people. We started talking about how if life events had sculpted who we were in a similar way. We had planned to delve more into that in the future.
We only saw each other once or twice after that. I have no idea what happened. By my mid-20s I had learned to block certain aspects of friendship and emotion out. I looked after me. Maybe I had blocked out the emotion I had for her. The LOVE I had for her (and still do). It's a shame if that's what I did. How horrible of me.
Is this why I take friendship so seriously? Is this why I find myself in search of a new tribe? I don't want to make the same mistake again, and possibly miss the signs. Sitting here now, it explains a lot.
There's more, but this is enough for now. It's a lot of words, and I have cried enough.
If only Heather read this (I could only hope for such a dream), and contacted me. I wish. I wish. I only wish that wherever she is she is well. And happy, and laughing, and cracking jokes and pulling pranks.
Find your tribe. And do everything to keep it.