I have been lucky to grow up in a neighborhood full of kids. Between the four neighboring houses there were ten of us, which always made for some pretty intense chalk cities and games of Red Rover. Performances of Annie and trampoline shows were weekly occurrences. We made episodes of cribs and our own mini movies. We camped out in each other’s back yards and tapped into our inner architects to make some pretty amazing blanket forts. We’ve witnessed each other’s families grow and shrink. We’ve attended each other’s birthday parties and even had some for our Lee Middleton dolls. We learned to swim and ride bikes and, later, to drive and to pay bills. Although our ages now range from 4 to 23, we are still as close as ever.
Over the past seventeen years of my life I have come to love these people as if they were blood. They have watched me grow into the person I am and, in many ways shaped me. They are my family. They are what I know and they are what I believe. They have taught me that friends truly are there through thick and thin. They have seen me through first boyfriends and first break-ups, and supported me through stubbed toes and the loss of my brother. They have watched me sing in school Christmas concerts, trip my clumsy self through adolescence, and drive away in Blue Betsy the day I got my first car. My neighborhood has been through a lot, but what makes us unique is that we’ve always had each other. There has never been a time in my life when I felt like I had no one to turn to. Whether it was one of the kids or their parents, I have always had an open home and heart to go to, no questions asked.
This year has been pretty different for all of us. There have been marriages and new addresses; some have gone off to college, and others were left behind in high school. We have become pre-occupied with jobs, sports, and relationships. I find it rare we are all in the same place at one time anymore. In spite of all this, I refuse to believe that friends just grow apart. We may not see each other every day like we used to but that just makes birthdays and holidays, when we’re all together, even more special.
I believe that no matter where we go to school or what new friends we make, we will still be as good of friends as always. I think because we have gone through so much together, grown up together, we have created a bond too strong to lose. This bond is unique to me but it is also one that can be found between families, teammates, and best friends. I believe that a friendship like ours is forever.
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