I’m realizing how much I am going to miss friends and those who have become family to us in our past 10 years. I was lying in bed the other night thinking about packing, moving, the long road trip which will likely be filled with lots of tushes falling asleep due to the long stretches of sitting. I lay awake for nearly three hours planning, working out details of the move and thinking of hitting the beach with the kids just days after we get to the coast. Then I began to reminisce (1:30am is not the best time to recall 10 years of memories) about some of our closest friends here.
Every Thursday night for nearly five years now a small group meets together and takes turns hosting a dinner gathering. In the beginning it was just a small group in an intimate setting of someone’s cozy home, eating a sweet meal together. Matt and I were the only ones with children and this past year this has changed as a few friends had their own babies. But as I sat in bed, wishing I could drift off to sleep, I was thinking how lucky we have been to have friends that deeply love and delight in… our children. Our friends play with them on Thursday night, allow our kids to jump on their furniture, show them how to play games on their IPhones, tickle our kids, hug them, speak encouragement in their ears and greet them every week with excitement. They have endured a lot of emotional changes that our wee ones go through and they empathize with me and offer help when it’s just too taxing for me to deal with their emotional toddler-phase meltdowns.
Our children have a few little friends that are peers whom they see every once in a while and when they get to play with them they are super excited at the opportunity. But I can definitely confirm that some of my kid’s closest friends are our friends that we meet with every week. They actually get completely excited to see them for dinner and when I tell them it’s Thursday (they still don’t understand days of the week) my son especially jumps up in the air, shouts, “YEAH!” and becomes uncontrollably hyper. This is why I had opted to tell him just moments before our guests arrive… he gets excited and STAYS excited! It’s a bit intense. But it’s just a reflection of his love for his dear friends.
As I was in my state of insomnia, recalling our relationships in Madison and all that we are leaving behind, this was the moment that I began to cry. It’s the first time I’ve cried while thinking of our move. I think I’ve been so busy packing, selling things, holding garage sales and fixing our house that the reality of leaving friends hasn’t really sunk in. Yet when I thought about what our friendships have meant to our children it moved me to realize that our kids have something so precious among this small community of friends, they have family among them. They are deeply loved and cherished and have been since they were born. Our friends have seen our kids grow from their birth and they have been involved in the nurturing of our little people. This is going to be the deepest wound for our kids when they begin to realize that they won’t be seeing their friends for dinner or jumping on their furniture or playing with the new babies the next day, that they are too far away and can’t come over the play with them. This is when I soaked my pillow thinking of the hole this will leave.
Even though it will leave a hole I am aware that it’s made the most excellent impact and laid a lovely foundation for their first years of life. Oliver and Chloe have had the most amazing gift… love and acceptance of who they are. They are celebrated for their amazing personalities. These relationships have encouraged them and thrown them high in the air; tickled and hit them with pillows, chased them through the yard and let them walk their dog. What a gift to have a place where your children are free to be themselves. I think it’s rare to have such acceptance from people other than family but we’ve had it. We’ve had it for them since day one. I’m so very grateful and nervous. Grateful for the foundation laid but nervous that we are going to a place where people don’t know my kids and maybe won’t feel the same way about them. Maybe they won’t enjoy them as much as our friends here have. Will my kids sense that and begin to miss our old life?
As parents we want our children to experience the best and would never want to take away the good life from them. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. It’s not always possible to give them the best, whatever that is, but we give them what we can. I’m so thankful we’ve given them this group of friends to cherish them and to teach them to cherish in return. If you guys are reading… you are so dearly loved! By us, of course, but our children love you deeply. Thank you for sharing your lives with THEM!