Happy African American Man

Single Mom Slice of Life:
Friends Forever? Then And Now

I went to school with a kid who peed every time he was called on in class. Granted, it was kindergarten, but still… what a reputation. I also went to school with a girl who was caught not once but three times having sex in various rooms at the school with various boys. Then there was a boy who had a boil on his neck so big he drew a happy face on it, and a girl who once wanted to fight me when she thought I’d said that she smelled like cheese. (In my defense, I hadn’t said it about her – I’d said it about the girl next to her.)

That having been said, I have no idea where any of these people are today. I am hard-pressed to tell you any of their names… except cheese girl. Though, no, wait, her name probably wasn’t really cheese girl.

Ok, anyway, I tell you that to tell you this – those people are all memories to me. Stories that either make me laugh, or cry, or cringe. I have no idea who they grew up to be, where they live, or if they even remember me.

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My connection to them faded as soon as I received my diploma and ran away from the one-horse town I grew up in. I went on to get married, have kids, divorce, change states, and live my life.

That may not necessarily be a bad thing. I’m not saying they’re bad people, I honestly don’t know, but I know that then, they were not necessarily the best friend choices for me – nor I for them. After high school, I was given the opportunity to be me, a fresh start with new friends, new experiences, and memories instead of scars.

I could do that because in the early 90s, I wasn’t attached to a cell phone. Facebook wasn’t around yet. The internet was… new.

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My kids now, they won’t have that same option. Think about it. Technology today ties you to your present – always – and never lets today become yesterday. Pictures last forever. Numbers don’t have to be remembered because the cell phone will never forget. Bad friend choices… can follow you. Today, kids don’t have the chance to outgrow their high school hijinks. Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and whatever technological tether will not let them go.

Is that a good thing? I don’t know that it is. Sure, I would love to be the girl that says, “Cheese Girl and I have been friends since kindergarten”, but… is that realistic? For me – no. For my kids – yes. Justin recently moved from junior high to high school, and was granted a Veteran Award along with nine other students. It is an award for students who had remained at the same school from kindergarten to eighth grade. (It’s Arizona, they do things weird here.)

Even more, do I want my kids to stay friends with the people they know now? Well… maybe the question should be, do I need to worry about it? My kids have made (for the most part) good friend choices. The choices that aren’t my favorite choices have ultimately shown themselves to be unworthy, and have been unfriended (when did that become a word?), deleted and blocked.

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I won’t lie – I’m nervous that it won’t be as easy for my kids to leave their pasts behind in order to embark on fresh futures. But, I have to trust that if Nick could walk away from the kid that bullied him on the way home from school, and Justin could share his concerns with the school about the kid that kept trying to push students into the street after school on the walk home, then they will be able to learn when it is time to leave the past behind until it becomes a memory.

What about you? Do you wonder what your life would be like today if you were still in contact with your past? Or, are you still friends with people from your past, and if so, how have you all changed?