You wonder what that is? It's when you're the only thing keeping something together. When the ex and I still lived in New York, it was basically me being the 'cruise director' and coordinating all the activities our group of friends did and keeping things together. Once I moved to Maryland, it was frequent phone calls back to NY-but the calls were reciprocal. The difference was, my phone bill would be triple or quadruple anyone elses. I was glad for this-it was part of being the glue.
The ex and I split, jobs changed, but through the years, I've picked up friends along the way and lost far too many of them that I wish were still in my life. As much as I hate AOL, I have to thank them for Instant Messenger, because it's how I maintain being the glue with a few friends who I don't even have phone numbers for (paging Dave, Jeff and Russ-this means you!). To an extent, the blog has some glue like properties, because it keeps you all in touch with what's going on in my life. The glue maintains when you call or email to bitch that I haven't updated in a while and I get to find out what's going on in YOUR life.
We attended a wedding yesterday (and I will report about that later when more time allows) that we enjoyed thoroughly. Afterwards, I pondered to Ed whether I'll see the friends much again. As much as I love and care about them, I don't see them much. The phone calls are fewer and fewer and we're all very busy people. In spending time with the couple, it made me happy to share in their day and very sad that I don't get to do this anymore. I explained to Ed that I can't be the glue all the time, and that bothers me.
Ed actually had a positive story to relate when he'd wondered the same thing. We'd attended Joyce and Tim's wedding several years ago. He had thought-will I really see them again? He'd been convinced that the end was near, that there wasn't enough glue to keep it together. I'm happy to report that 8 years later, we're closer than we were back then. Joyce recently gave birth to their third child and in trying not to interfere, I'd stopped myself from calling her (as baby's sleep patterns may not coincide with friend's calling patterns). Once again, we're back on the phone and commiserating about life with small children and being support for one another.
What is it that keeps us friends for 25 plus years? How is it that the person from Babbage's I thought I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with (due to overprotective wife) is the only one I'm still in weekly contact with? How is it that the former boss that drove me crazy is the same person who now calls to have a sounding board for her frustration and as a result, makes me laugh? How is it that the first friend I made at college (on the first day, no less) can spend time with us and it's as if we're back at the Pawnbroker?
By the same token, why is it that I can't keep in touch with people that mean so much to me? There are dear friends who are expecting a child any day, and I haven't been in touch, other than Christmas cards, since their wedding. There are some good friends back in Maryland that I just haven't kept up with-our lives are so similar, but I guess I don't have enough glue for everyone.
Weddings are magical in that they usually cause one to 'take stock'. I've got it pretty darn good, but I want more. Not the material but the intangibles-I want more glue.