Over the weekend, I had the chance to see some good friends that I don't see often enough... but who remind me that friends can be family.
I've known this group of friends for over 10 years now. In that time, all of us have achieved major milestones. We've celebrated birthdays, weddings, house purchases, new jobs, graduations, the births of 8 babies. We've been there for each other through loss, through financial hardships, through career changes, through depression. We have grown up together in these 10 years.
I don't see these friends as often as I should. What was so easy before babies—camping trips and nights out at bars and concerts and restaurant dinners—is now much harder with varying kid-schedules and bedtimes to work around. We live just far enough away that it takes planning, and we're all busy. We have jobs, we have kids, we have lives. So we don't get together as often as we should. I don't work as hard at it as I should.
When we do get together for kids' birthdays or for holidays or for the rare adult outing... it feels like home. This group of friends feels like more than just friends—they feel like family. And I find myself endlessly grateful for this crew of incredible people who, in spite of my horrific track record with actually making plans, continue to allow me to be a part of their lives and continue to be willing to be part of mine.
They keep showing up when it's time to show up. And that is family.
For some reason it feels so novel, so wonderfully good.
I may be behind on the day-to-day of their jobs, their daily woes, what days their kids have sports/music/dance lessons. But I remember the days their babies were born, and they remember the days mine were born. I have to play catch up with the latest trips and vacations, but I know what their faces looked like on their wedding days or their 30th birthdays.
Even as we grow slightly apart with time and with life, we make the effort to come back together. To maintain the stitches that bind us.
I know I don't do enough to show these friends how dearly I love them. I know that I need to do more. But I hope they realize how deeply they matter to me and how grateful I am for our intertwining lives. How thankful I am to watch our babies run together, year after year, their arms and legs growing from chubby little nubs to long, lanky limbs lined with muscle. For 10 years, I've been lucky enough to toast with them and dance with them and watch as we all continue to grow and change.
How lucky I feel to have this chosen family who chooses to stay together.
At this get together, we discussed how much longer we'd be getting together for our annual egg hunt. One of the kids is nearly 9, but the littlest is just 18 months and still toddling about. We have time ahead, but we're all growing. We're all changing.
And yet, we intend to keep this up. Hopefully for another 10 years.
This has been a good reminder to tend to my friendships. To work hard at the ones I value. Friendship in adulthood is difficult, and I become particularly bad at maintaining friendships when I'm struggling with maintaining my own sanity. My tendency is to hermit, to turn inward rather than reach out.
But... friendships are part of my sanity. I need my people. And I particularly need people who love my kids, who stand by even when things are shitty. People for whom I will do the same.
And so, I resolve to work harder to see these people that I love. To reach out more often. To get our kids together more.
Although... even if I don't, I'm pretty sure they'll still be there. Because they're family.