Silver and Gold
by Laura J. Walker
When I was in Girl Scouts, we sang “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” This song came back to me as I realized I've tenaciously hung on to old friends.
My first “best friend” was Jane in second grade. We sang on the bus and played at my house and did hand-clap rhymes until our hands hurt. Jane recently found me on Facebook and we've exchanged news of our current lives. Facebook has helped me reconnect with several old friends in the same way.
Now my oldest “best friends” are those I met in college when we were all finding our self-identities. We sang sorority songs and cried over breakups. After attending each others’ weddings for several years after graduation, we got together once a year for a long weekends to hang out; five couples converging from four states.
That long weekend became a week at the beach for several years when we all added babies and toddlers to the mix. As our families and lives have changed, our relationships have changed too. My relationships with two of those friends have stagnated at reliving the past and catching up, but my relationships with the other two have grown deeper and we talk on an intimate level about marriage, career, family and spiritual issues.
As I was looking at photos last month from my life ten years ago, it struck me how I have different friends now than I did then. A new church, a new neighborhood, MOPS and children have changed who I spend my time with. Since my daughter was born eight years ago, I have invested time in relationships with people who are right there with me: in church, in school and in the trenches of motherhood. I’ve found that the bonds I am forming with my girlfriends now are just as special as those during college. We are still discovering our self-identities as they change from career women to mommies, then change again from mother of preschoolers to mother of elementary-schoolers.
When I sang that Girl Scout song as a child, I thought that the old friends were gold and the new friends were silver, making the old ones more valuable. Now I don’t see it that way. I have silver and gold friends from every era of my life. My connection with gold friends is deep, no matter if it’s been a week or six months since we’ve spoken. And silver friends have made my life richer and more fun on many occasions in many ways. I treasure them all.