Eleanor Skelton blogs at eleanorskelton.com, is the news editor of the UCCS student newspaper, and is majoring in English and Chemistry.
“Dad, can I please have two friends from church over for a tea party sometime this month? Pretty please?”
No. No I could not, because:
– I hadn’t been doing enough housework or schoolwork.
– The house is Dad’s castle, and he doesn’t like having people over.
– I shouldn’t need friends, because my parents gave me two siblings.
Sometime in first or second grade, my A Beka penmanship book had a writing assignment called “My Best Friend.” I wrote about Abby, a girl a few months older than me whose dad was one of my dad’s colleagues. Someone I’d played with about four or five times, once or twice a year.
My cousin Bethany, five months younger, was another “best friend.” We only saw each other one afternoon out of the year at my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving.
I formed deep attachments in an hour timespan. I once told the neighbor’s granddaughter we would be best friends forever after a summer evening in the front yard. She said, “Until I move to Houston.”
I was an only child until I was nearly seven years old. Then my little sister was born. My dad bought me lemonade in the hospital cafeteria and cried, telling me he was so happy I wouldn’t be alone if something happened to him and my mom.
She was cute, but she cried a lot and I couldn’t do much more than soothe and bottlefeed her until she was two.
My little brother was born when I was about eleven, so I also helped mother him.
You don’t need friends, you have your little brother and sister.
You should care more about your family than friends. Friends are temporary, family will always be here.
My parents have barely allowed communication with my siblings since I moved out two years ago. I’m told this is their choice, out of their own free will.
My sister left home for Bob Jones University this fall, but she barely speaks to me. She says she can’t associate with me, because my life choices demonstrate that I’ve turned my back on God.
She says I don’t keep in touch, so I call once a week or so and leave a voicemail so she knows I’m here when she’s ready.
You and your sister will always have each other.
Until I go to college and decide Dad is overprotective, until I decide to move out and be independent.
Until I believed that the church was outside these walls.
If my family is always there, where are they now?
After moving out, I called two roommates my sisters, because they escaped the fundamentalist box, too. Our souls know one another, and I love them.
But my heart still has two holes. My brother and my sister.
They were the only close friends I knew over my first 23 years. I found friendship among my peers beyond acquaintance after leaving.
And for now, I’ve lost my first two friends.