Yes, it was very enjoyable to sit at the table with the siblings and to catch up on what had been going on in our lives, even if only briefly. For four hours we renewed connections that had become rusty. But here's the thing; as we were all leaving there were no tearful promises that we'd all get together again very soon, no "talk to you tomorrow" in the air. Perhaps what we all recognized was that our lives had all gone in different directions and we were no longer travelers on the same road. Yes, should we find ourselves at the same rest stop at some point in the journey we'd welcome the chance to talk and reminisce, but the day-to-day elements of our journeys are no longer in tandem.
When I got home I took a look at our wedding album with a particular eye towards who was at our chasoneh that we were still in constant contact with. Aside from my mother, our siblings and my first cousins there were precisely two people who still form part of our core group. Yes, there are others who we call before a yom tov, but they aren't any longer the focus of a call on a Tuesday in July. Sad? Yes, but not debillitatingly so. There are others who have joined us on our journey along the way, some for the long haul, some for only a short distance. It's not that we have discarded our connections, but rather that a whole lot of those connections were obviously not destined to be fellow travelers for the whole trip. And there are people, met well after we got married, who are our fellow travelers, at least for now.
What brought this to mind? The daughter of an acquaintance in the neighborhood refuses to entertain any shidduchim where the young man is from out of town or wants to leave the immediate NYC area or does not have his roots buried deep in NYC. Her reason is simple: she has "best friends" living here and she has no intention of giving them up or losing them. She "knows" that she and those friends are "destined" to head through life together. In my opinion, someone ought to explain to her that there is simply no way to guarantee that that will indeed be the case. Even if they all live in NYC that doesn't mean they will remain close forever. Life changes as time goes forward. Being a couple instead of a single can change the relationship among and between friends. Moving from one part of the city to another can change the dynamics. Having children can change how you view relationships. Interests can change, priorities can change and yes, people can change.
With all the other, more important things to look for in a shidduch, keeping all your "best" friends as part of your life should not, in my opinion, be right up there in the top three requirements, at least based on my own experiences having been married for 38 years. Requiring that all current "best" friends come along for the whole journey is short sighted for the most part and also unrealistic. Go ahead, look at your address book, look at who you consider yourself close with today and then compare that to 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. Here's what I'll bet: some people have gotten off the train and others have gotten on. I believe that's what is called life.