Dinner with Friends

It rained Sunday evening. Seriously. It rained. And I was hosting a dinner party and there was going to be about a million kids at my house. As the time ticked by getting closer to 4:00, I kept walking by the sliding door and asking Jeff, "Are those dark clouds? Is it going to rain?" (Imagine me saying this in a panicked voice). The answer was yes. Understand that I love children. It's just that we don't have a very big house and ten children are a lot to squeeze in and I had planned for them to be in the backyard playing.

That still happened. They just played in light rain. At one point, one of the little girls yelled, "It's okay! There's just some thunder and I think it's going to be a light rain!" Hilarious really. :)

We were having a goodbye party for some of our friends who are moving to be with their family up in the mountains. They've wanted this for a while so we're all excited for them, but it's still sad to say goodbye. This group of friends is particularly special to me because we all came together pre-kids (except for Tamsen, who was just a baby! And we're missing Tammy and Nathaniel!). As you can see below, now we've somehow multiplied in crazy numbers. It's special to me because all these women were at my baby showers. We grew together.

At the regional meeting the other night, one of the older women came up to talk with me. She mentioned that she and her husband were traveling this summer to spend a few days with friends of theirs. They get together every year with friends they've had since their children were little. She told me that the friends she made when her children were small are the friendships that have meant the most to her throughout her life. It's such a special time of your life, she told me, when you're raising your kids that you really bond with the people going through life with you at that time.

I can see why that would be true. It is a special time of your life.

Here's what I like about being part of a small group (and while this one we were part of was through our church, I know lots of people just come together without the church aspect. A small group of friends can happen in lots of ways). But I liked the fact that we were making a commitment to be there for each other when we needed each other. And we were intentional about getting together every couple of weeks. Mel and Jason (the couple who the goodbye party was for) started the small group--I think it was like six years ago. Anyway, we were all at a place in our lives where we needed couple friends. The small group provided an opportunity for that to happen for us.

We were talking last night about how it can be surprising, but just being married doesn't mean you never experience loneliness. Even a couple with a great marriage can feel lonely without friends. We need people to go through life with. Our kids need friends, and so do we. Loneliness isn't something to ignore. It can take us in wrong directions. But it can also be a starting point to a new, good direction. A new friendship. New people in your life.

As you know, we joined a new small group a couple of months ago. It's different this time around, of course. But it's also the same in that we're coming together to be friends, to be there for each other, to experience life together.

We sat around the table at our party Sunday night (well, we sort of sat, I was jumping up every ten seconds to check on the kiddos. Dinner parties just do not mix well with kids), and I was sad that, for sure, it will be the last time we all sit together for a while. For Mel and Jason, this is the end of one chapter, and the beginning of a new one. But with all the chaos going on around us, it was still so nice to all be together. Hosting dinner parties is fun for me. I like filling my home with friends and family for a party. I like sharing food and talking and laughing over a glass of wine. I like the smell of coffee when it's time for dessert. I like setting the table and thinking about what to serve.

These are life-filled moments. And isn't it beautiful when you can share them with the people you care about?


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