“You’ve got a friend in me.”

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I am grateful for the friends my children have. I am grateful for the love those friends show my children and the joy they bring into their lives. As a mom it is so much fun to watch them grow with the friends of their childhood and watch their friendship develop as they mature from the stage of barbies and play-doh into a more mature friendship. It is an evolution I think delights me so much because it is so foreign to me.

I grew up in a military family. This meant every couple years we would pack up all we have into a moving van and drive off into the sunset to the next place we were stationed. It was a wonderful life. I loved the military lifestyle. I was able to see more and experience more than most kids my age and I loved the adventure of starting new every few years. It really didn’t become a challenge until I reached my high school years and we moved to an area away from a military base that wasn’t so transient. The students had all lived there their entire lives. No one was used to being the new kid, which resulted in a lack of empathy for the new kid. They had their group of friends, friends that had been their friends since they were in diapers, and they really weren’t looking to make new friends. It was the first time, over a lifetime of moves, that I struggled to find my place in my new school. It was all so foreign to me.

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Eventually I did find my spot in that school with a group of friends that embraced me, but I always was in awe of the friendships around me that had such history. As a military brat I couldn’t even imagine being friends with someone for 10 years. Most of my friendships had an expiration date of 3 years. I suppose I learned, for the sake of self preservation, to not become too attached because friendships do have a shelf life. Despite all our promises to “never forget each other” or “always stay in touch” after a move it was inevitably just a matter of time before phone calls ceased, letters stopped arriving in the mailbox, and the friendship died a quiet death.

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That world was a different world. Perhaps if I had been raised in today’s world of Facebook and social media, it would have been different. It would have required less effort to stay connected.

When I married Toby and became a permanent resident in western PA I had to relearn how to be a friend. I wasn’t married to a military man so frequent moves were no longer part of the equation. I had to learn how to put down roots,and not flee a friendship when it got challenging or uncomfortable. (This is a skill I still struggle with.) I had to learn to navigate long-term commitments with friends. It sounds silly but it was a definite adjustment for me, but I’ve slowly learned…

And now I am enjoying the rewards of that commitment as I celebrate 10 year or 15 year anniversaries with friends.

It has also been a joy to watch my own children thrive in this area that was always such a struggle for me. It is a delight to watch their childhood friendships grow and evolve as they mature. Some friendships have weakened and some have strengthened as the Lord has used certain friends in certain seasons of their lives for certain purposes.

The most enduring friendships for both my children and myself have come from play-groups/co-op where we share a common connection of mothering/homeschooling ideology, or church where we share the common thread of faith. Both have resulted in deep, meaningful, substantial friendships…friendships that have lasting power. My teens are now coming up on the 10 year anniversary of many of their friendships and my little boys are just beginning to learn that relationships and friendships can last…they can have staying power…you can count on them. This is a tough lesson to learn when it hasn’t been your experience as a foster child.

Because of that I am all the more grateful when friendships are developed, when my boys are invited and included, and when others make an effort to show my boys that people can be trusted and counted on “to stick.”

This week was full of fun social events with friends. Here is a peek into some of their activities:

For Wednesday night activities at church we had kids headed in different directions. We had stayed home from co-op on Wednesday, due to a flu bug that hit me. Tyler also wasn’t feeling 100% so the two of us stayed home to rest while everyone else who had rallied and were feeling okay, headed out.

The Boy Scouts have begun working on their swimming merit badge so Toby, Rusty, and Ozzie headed over to the YMCA’s indoor swimming pool to meet their scout troop for swimming. They all had a good time but Ozzie informed me, when he got home, “I’m just not a very good floater. I sink like a stone!” We are still working on helping Ozzie become a stronger swimmer. 🙂

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Rusty swimming laps.

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Ozzie working on floating 🙂

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Molly’s church class (the 14/15 year old young women) drove with their leader over to the mall to window shop for modest clothing. The girls had fun looking for and trying on different outfits to determine if they were a modest choice. Molly always had fun with her church group of buddies. They ended their night with treats at the food court.

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Gracie’s church class (the 16-18 year old young women) had a social night and joined their leader at Steak n Shake for burgers, milkshakes and visiting. I think it was fun for the girls to be able to all get together and catch up on each other’s lives. These girls have been together for many years and it is nice to see some of the sweet friendships that have developed.

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On Friday the girls joined their church friends again as they helped Taylor, a friend from church, celebrate her 16th birthday. Happy Birthday, Taylor!

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The girls bought Taylor a purse and stuffed it with “First Date Survival Kit” items for Taylor’s 16th birthday.

 

On Saturday Grace headed out again for a little more “friend time” because evidently this week wasn’t filled with enough friend time! 😉

Actually this get-together has been in the making for a few months. Grace wanted to take out her two best buddies for a day of shopping and lunch out. Olivia is her best friend from co-op and Stephanie is her best friend from church and both are such sweet girls! I am grateful for both of these young women’s influence in Gracie’s life. They had a delightful time shopping at the mall and eating lunch at a Hibachi grill.

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Olivia attempting to catch flying chicken. 🙂

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Gracie returned home to find 3 more friends visiting. Derek, Nevaeh, and Q came to spend the night. We introduced them to the game Headbands, a family favorite. It is played by placing a card with a Disney character on your headband. You don’t know who your character is and must figure it out by asking the other players questions about yourself. Nevaeh and Q struggled with the concept and in their excitement would tell us who we were. It made for a lot of laughs for those who didn’t take the game too seriously, but was very frustrating for the three 9-12 year olds who really wanted to win. 🙂

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Tyler reading a bedtime book to Q. 🙂

 

It was a good week with good friends…

Now off to sleep for some good dreams!

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