Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Sometimes, I Can’t Sleep and I Think about Friends

It was my first real slumber party. Popular girls would be there, so I shaved my legs. I got out of the shower and saw I’d missed shaving an entire line of hair along my shin.

“You’re such a baby,” I said and razored off the offensive line of yellow fuzz along with much of my shin.

“Dummy,” I said, and doused it with white ointment and bandaids, dried off, put on my flair-bottomed jeans, and feathered my hair with a blowdryer. It was my first real slumber party.

***

Nine days ago, we were in Colorado. A late Christmas with most of my family. We missed the ones that weren’t there, played games with the ones that were, and spent time in the mountains with snow that sparkles under the sun and crunches underfoot.

“It’s a dry cold,” is an expression my husband’s learned is not only funny because I’ve been saying it for ten years, but true.

While there, I didn’t see many friends, but I saw three. “What is it about friendship?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, why is it so much easier here?”

“I don’t know,” my husband said.

I thought about friendship here and in Colorado.

Two friends there are old roommates, lifemates, back when secrets were rare and wondering about protocol was usually given the finger. Or, maybe, that’s hindsight blurring the edges of awkwardness or years smoothing the rough parts of the stones that lie at the roots of our entangled branches.

The other friend I saw there, I met through blogging.

***

The night of my first real slumber party, we all changed into our PJ’s and my bandaids were visible.

“What happened?” they asked. I was too embarrassed to say I’d done it shaving (because novice) so made up an unbelievable story about sliding down cement steps, scraping my shin.

They asked to see, and one of the popular girls said it looked fake, with all the pinkness of it, my blood mixed with the white cream sliding around my leg.

It did look fake. I wiped some of it off, assuring her it was real, wishing I’d brought PJ pants to sleep in instead. Did I want them to see it?

Would seeing my wound make ME seen?

A girl named Andrea, who was between the middle-popular, geeky shy crowd that I was in and the popular ones asked what happened.

I told her I’d cut myself shaving, and she believed me. “Why would you do that to yourself?” she asked.

I didn’t have an answer and it was time for the real test. Which of us would break the slumber party girl’s mom’s rules and go outside? Which would stay?

I said I’d go, but I stayed. They were going next door to throw stuff into the boy who lived there’s window well.

For years, I wondered how high school and junior high would have been different had I gone.

I knew enough to not fall asleep first though, and pinched myself in my sleeping bag until I heard two other girls snoring.

***

When I can’t sleep, I think about friendships, and how and why they change. Or, at least, how and why they’ve changed over the years for me. I wonder about finding it easy in some groups, and excruciating in others.

I remember a night when I felt the electricity from every body at the party.

Laughter lept from spilled plates and bounced around the room echoing and igniting each of us.

It was one of the best parties.

I remember a night where some of us stood on a porch in awe of the endless stars above. It’s like we were one, and knew that then was all and nothing and that being there was everything.

Sometimes, I still feel that when I go outside in the dark.

***

What is it about people that draw us to one another? Is it a shared history, like the one I have with two sisters in Colorado? That we’ve been on both coasts together, in the middle together? In other countries together?

Or, would we still be as close if we’d never left home, having grown up differently than we did, but having simply shared ourselves?

When it comes to my writer friend in Colorado and those everywhere else. Is it that we know each other more deeply than playground chat allows? Is writer friendship based on the fact that we share things about ourselves online or in print that we’d never share at a bus stop?

Or is it that in life, we have littermates, mixed in bloodlines or stardust?

Whatever it is, why is it so damn hard to duplicate at the playground and at the bus stop?

Is it just me?

Most people who have an only child in second grade aren’t going to celebrate a 50th birthday in a couple of years.

Most of the moms at the bus have known one another since preschool, when my son was riding the short bus.

Maybe, it’s me.

Maybe, it’s something else.

These are the things I wonder when I cannot sleep.

Do you know? Wonder?

Do you find friendship easier online than in person?

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I can’t sleep, I…”
Link up here, at Finding Ninee.

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  • Dana - I wish we lived closer, Kristi. I find in person friendships easier than online, although I do love the connection I’ve made with bloggers. But I’d rather be sitting across from you, eating lunch and chatting. I was a late bloomer in terms of friends; I have much closer relationships now than I did as a teenager.January 12, 2017 – 10:12 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Dana!!! I so wish we lived closer. I think I suck maybe at the in-person ones. Maybe because they have 7yo boys or girls and they are like 37? Maybe because Tux is “like a 50’s boy,” from a mom in his class? Maybe because I just totally suck at this? Honestly, I try to not suck at this but do. I need to take lessons from you. Maybe we could have a game night or something? Seriously.January 12, 2017 – 10:26 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - I think all writers are confirmed introverts hence making online friendships easier than IRL. You are my only Ionline friend I met IRL.

    Yes, I think writers understand each other better then most people even bad ones like me. Just like teachers or doctors understand each other better because they can empathesize.

    Eyebrows dude! Penciled in and it rained. Far more horrifying and traumatic until my younger brother did it….permanent marker holds up better!!

    As for what I do when I can not sleep the answer is obvious. I write.January 12, 2017 – 10:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YIKES to the eyebrows!! And yeah, you may be onto something with the whole shared connections and empathy thing.January 13, 2017 – 8:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Lux G. - Beautiful place to be with friends.January 12, 2017 – 11:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I love “snow that sparkles under the sun: so much, as a line, from this post Kristi.
    I suck at making friends. I have lost a few friendships that I regret, but had a lovely time with a friend visiting from far away, during the holidays. I just wish she didn’t live so far away.January 12, 2017 – 11:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank you Kerry!!! I have a hard time with the losing friendships thing, even when it’s just distance or worlds drifting or whatever — it’s still weird and hard. I’m glad you had a great time with a far-away friend recently though. Those moments fill our buckets for sure.January 13, 2017 – 8:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I think about friendships too and how they evolve over time. I have friends from elementary school, high school and college so yes, shared history there. But, I also have newer “mom friends” that I’ve made over the last 15 years and of course there are my blogging friends like you. 🙂 I know for me, as a writer, I do tend to be open through my writing and therefore connect with people online and I think it feels safer to share that way, at least initially. That being said, I’d LOVE to meet you IRL one of these days!January 13, 2017 – 8:31 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Emily we HAVE TO MEET IRL. We have to. I don’t really have any friends from elementary or high school, not really. I’m friends with a couple HS people on FB but don’t really see them. I wish I did. I think it’s easier to be open in writing for sure. One of the dudes must have a DC visit at some point right??/January 13, 2017 – 8:31 pmReplyCancel

      • Emily - Maybe when Middle Dude starts looking at colleges next year…I’ll demand that he visit GW and Georgetown! 🙂January 14, 2017 – 11:01 amReplyCancel

  • Allison Smith - I am very curious about this dry cold? And I know what you mean about old friends. It’s the share history, not the geography. I feel the same way about my peeps in Florida. Have you tried inviting the bus stop moms over for wine?January 13, 2017 – 10:42 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Dry cold is WAYYYYY better. Meet me in Colorado in the winter, and I’ll show you? I haven’t really invited the moms for wine… it felt easier before kids maybe?? Or maybe I’m just a big fat wimp.January 13, 2017 – 8:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Rabia @ The Liebers - I definitely find friendships online are easier. IRL you have to find kids you can stand who have parents you can stand and then hope that the kids like each other. There’s just too many variables!!January 13, 2017 – 3:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Phew! I’m glad it’s not just me and you’re so right about liking the kids, them like each other… gah. So much work.January 13, 2017 – 8:33 pmReplyCancel

  • [email protected] - I have never been good at making friends & I’ve always been a person who has a few close friends rather than a bunch of not so close friends. I have lost a few friendships for various reasons- mostly just life going in different directions.January 14, 2017 – 9:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sometimes I just wonder at how easy it is with some people and how it feels harder with others. I don’t know if it’s just the daily distractions or not having time alone (without kids) or what…January 15, 2017 – 8:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Kristi, I love all your posts, but I really, really love this one. I read it a couple of days ago on my phone and waited till I was at my desktop to comment (the speed I type on my phone I’d still be writing a comment if I’d tried it two days ago! 🙂 )

    I love the way you’ve woven the strands of past and present into this, and I loved the story about your first slumber party. I never really went to one of those, but because I grew up on an island we had to go away to school from age 14 and we used to have parties after “lights out.” Sometimes the matron caught us and we got banned from going out after school for a week or so. But the parties were fun while they lasted. One girl escaped punishment because she hid in a wardrobe!

    As to your questions about friendship. I have a mix of both. I have some friends I met online and then in person and some I met in person and keep in touch with online. One of my best friends moved to Australia so we keep in touch via Skype. I don’t think how easy a friendship is has to do with on or off line so much as with how much you relate to each other and how open and honest you are with each other. It’s possible in both situations to put on a “face” which will always end up feeling fake.

    I also think that when we feel like an outsider (like you do at the bus stop) that we tend to be more reticent and so it’s a bit of a vicious circle. I can be like that at times both on and off line and it’s not helpful really. Some friends and I were talking about our kids who at the time felt excluded from the “popular” crowd and one friend had read about how even the “popular” kids feel that they are not as popular as someone else in their group. So it’s just a universal feeling.January 15, 2017 – 10:39 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yvonne, I think you’re onto something with friendship having a lot to do with how open and honest we are with one another. Maybe that’s the piece I’m looking for when examining “mom friendships.” So often, kids are there and it’s just not the same as a slumber party or anything really where there’s soul-bearing and honesty happening.
      I do know too that it’s true that popular kids don’t feel as popular as they are… and that others are “more in” as well. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!January 15, 2017 – 8:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - I remember hating slumber parties for loads of reasons. And yet turning down the invite was unheard of, so I’d go and try to make the best of it. I hated when girls would get into scary shit. Awful.
    I dread the day slumber parties start with Zilla, especially since she has such particular sleeping needs and habits. I’ve also done a bunch of reading about how negatively kids are affected by sleepovers. Fascinating. Eh…maybe she won’t be interested. Fingers crossed.January 15, 2017 – 9:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’ve worried about Tucker, too. He still wears pull-ups at night (Shhhhhh) and I know that might become an issue. That, and that twice/week, he comes to get me at 1am or 3am or 5am because dreams. I can’t imagine him being somewhere else for that part, scared and too shy to say anything about it. Gah. I actually loved Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board… but some of the other stuff? Ok I maybe liked that too. But not the getting in trouble stuff. That was saved until later.January 15, 2017 – 9:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - I’m very close to my online friends—especially the writers. I think this is due to many factors—we share writing and being parents, and we all seem to “get” one another on a level that is quite different than the relationships that I have with my IRL friends. Either way, I’m so grateful to have them!January 16, 2017 – 9:33 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I definitely think there’s something about sharing as writers where we “get” one another. For sure. I’m grateful for both, too. XOJanuary 21, 2017 – 11:13 pmReplyCancel

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