For the past few years, we’ve gone to our friends’ home for a college reunion weekend. We also celebrate the birthdays of a few friends at the same time. We all pack into James & Nicole’s home on their farm and the house is overrun with running, screaming, laughing children and dear friends. James & Nicole are gracious enough to invite everyone into their home and it is the one weekend out of the year that my kids look forward to playing outside all day and night.
James & Nicole and Kristi & Britt have been friends with my husband since college and I was lucky and blessed that they adopted me into their close knit group when I started dating Mike 13 years ago. To give you a bit of a background on the dynamics: Mike & Nicole were best friends in college and so were Kristi & James. Kristi and Britt started dating in college as did Nicole & James. As I listen to their college stories I just wish I had met them all years ago as well (the stories they tell about James crack me up and I would have LOVED to have been a first hand witness to his shenanigans).
Over the years, this tight knit group have become more than just our friends, they are our family. Our daughter Bella, her middle name is Nicole. I chose her middle name as such for the immense love I have for Nicole. Also, when Bubba was born, we chose James & Nicole to be his Godparents. Their love & commitment to each other, strength and faith made them the obvious choice to be the spiritual leaders for our son. Kristi & Britt’s youngest son, Connor, his middle name is James after her bestie as well. So as you can see, we are just one big extended family.
This past weekend was fun. The kids enjoyed playing outside, feeding the pig and seeing the horses. Bubba was chasing chickens (I was waiting for them to turn the tables on him but the chickens never did) and we got a bit of a freak out when Nicole captured a Black Widow spider from the pin of the pig (she wasn’t sure if it was in fact a Black Widow spider until the men confirmed it was. The top of the jar it was encased in was sealed a bit tighter and no one else touched the jar all weekend -Creepy!!)
There was food and drinks galore. Everyone brought food for meals, snacks and we just spent the weekend catching up and relaxing. The kids had so much fun with the animals. The farm has goats, chickens, peacocks, a pig, horses, a pony named Broker (His official name is something like, “Broker than I was before”..funny right?!) dogs and a cat.
Where James & Nicole live, you’d be hard pressed to see cars driving down your street (because it is a country road) and more likely to see a John Deere drive by (Bubba could not get enough of seeing the tractors). Where we live, I would NEVER allow Bella or Bubba play in the front yard while I was inside but there, the kids run around the house on a wrap around porch riding scooters or tricycles, they bounce around on the trampoline and shoes are optional (however, shoes should be worn because of the burning grass that can really hurt if touched by your bare skin).
Music is played all day and we sit outside talking and watching the kids play. It’s hard to believe that these are the same group of friends that would party together and have all these wild stories and now their kids are forming a whole new generation of friendships.
Everyone’s lives become so rushed and it’s hard to keep track or keep in touch but it is so nice to have this one weekend to come together. No need to rush. We can sit in the same room and not say a word but just to be there together is the real blessing.
Between high school and college, the friendships that you form will last a lifetime. I am so blessed to have married the man I did because by doing so, I have gained such a wonderful group of friends that I could not imagine my life without. Our children will hopefully form the same bond as the years go by and that right there is the best kind of family ties anyone could ask for.