John and I have been so blessed to have a wonderful family. Everyone gets along. Nobody has grudges or fights or makes rude comments. The kids have their normal kid squabbles and there is sometimes miscommunication, but we all get along. What a blessing!
However, we live 3 1/2 hours away from John's family and 2 1/2 days away from my parents. That means we don't see our families very often, usually only 2-3 times a year. Yes, my parents come for a month or more at a time, but that still means that the majority of the time, they aren't around.
That means friends are a huge part of our life.
We have many, many friends, most of which are part of our faith community as well. John is part of Lion's International, so we have friends there. I am a volunteer class coordinator for Jazzercise, so we have friends there too. Then there's work friends and school friends for both of us. Our kids are in preschool and daycare, so we have additional friends from those places as well.
John has a friend he has Bible study each Saturday morning. I have a friend I meet regularly for coffee or breakfast or desert with. I also have a Bible study group.
Is there overlap between these groups of friends? Of course! But it still adds up to a LOT of friends.
I am so grateful!
All of these friends make life worthwhile.
They carry us through our joys and sorrows. They bring food when new babies are born, help rake our yard in the fall, provide both regular and emergency child care when needed. For a while we had a babysitting swap with one set of friends. Another set of dear friends have been adopted as "grandparents" by our children - no official connection needed! And it's good for both them and the kids. We have other friends who provide that "iron sharpening iron" that goes on between friends who truly talk about important things in their lives. And we have friends who provide a good laugh when we need one.
A simple meal is turned into a grand time when friends are involved, be it a hosted meal, a buffet, a cup of coffee or pancakes in a restaurant, a crazy sponsored picnic, a pot luck at home or at church, an impromptu ice cream cone at DQ or McDonald's, or our next door neighbor coming over and saying "We have fresh salmon! Come eat with us!". (Yes, she does do that occasionally!)
Bumping into a friend while out and about running errands can make a ho-hum (or downright lousy) day brighter.
Prayers of friends can be a true encouragement. As can a hug. Or a card or a note. And a friend hooking one friend up with another saying, "this person's been there and can give you support" can be one of the most important things people do for each other..
Other than family, friends are what makes life truly worthwhile. If you have family and friends, you are rich beyond measure. No matter what else you have in life.
Truly, friends are one of my favorite things.
What more can I ask for?