However, once we become friends, you're pretty much stuck with me. Most of my best friends, I've known the majority of my life. And, I know things will continue to change as we get older and life happens, but for the foreseeable future, I don't see any major friend changes in my life. Hope this doesn't ruin anyone's hopes of getting rid of me.
I wasn't totally aware of this until college. Since I attended the same school from the time I was in pre-school until I graduated, I never really had to worry about "making new friends." Sure, friends changed and people came and went, but I had my core group, and come each August, I was set. No first day of school worries here. That is, until I went to college. I had built-in friends that made the trek to Texas with me, but they were all looking for new friends, so I figured I should, too. And that's when it hit me, I didn't have a clue how to make a friend.
Even after I graduated and got married, I met a girl who visited our church in Little Rock one Sunday. Her husband was in the military, and she was by herself. Herschel and I invited her to lunch after church. It turned out that we had a lot in common, we exchanged numbers with the idea of getting together again sometime soon to go to dinner or hang out. But as soon as the exchange took place, I got nervous. I felt like I was going on a date. When should I call? How soon is too soon? How long should I wait? Does she even really want to be my friend? These are the things that were actually running through my head. Ridiculous, I know.
All this rambling, brings me to a point. Since we've been back from our cruise, I was thinking about the friends we went with. We moved to Florida just over six months ago, and during that time we've been fortunate to make some good friends. Especially Zack and Nicole, the couple we went on the cruise with. I mean, think about it, during that six month period we met these people, got to know them and then decided that they would be good candidates to not only take a vacation with, but a vacation on a boat!! Where were we going to go if things didn't work out?
And even this friendship, I can't really take credit for. Herschel and Zack struck up a friendship first. Nicole and I had things in common, because she grew up in a town about 15 mintues from where my grandfather lives. But Herschel and Zack hit it off from the beginning. I remember one night at our house when Nicole and I were cleaning up from dinner, being completely ignored by the boys, and Nicole looked at me and said, "I'm glad we get along or else this would be miserable." My sentiments exactly. But luckily for us, we did get along, and our friendship has grown as well.
Which leads me to today, Zack and Nicole technically no longer live in Florida. Last night, all of their furniture and belongings were loaded onto a truck headed for Kansas. We'll get to see them one more time in Orlando, before they head to Kansas to pursue a new job for Zack. And while we are so excited for this new opportunity for them and for the possibilities that it will bring their direction, we can't help being a little bit sad for ourselves.
In addition to our friends, they have been our dog sitters, our tennis partners, our airport shuttle, our Easter dinner hosts, and the list goes on and on. It has been a special friendship, that's for sure. And one that I am incredibly grateful for. God knew exactly what he was doing when he paired us up.
So, all that to say, I'm glad we are friends, and they should consider themselves warned - they are stuck with us. It's also taught me a valuable lesson, which is that sometimes the best thing I can do is to put myself out there and just be myself, because that's when true friendship is allowed to form.