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Day of celebrations fuels memories of a lifetime

These boys have all grown up together. Their stories are going to be epic for all their lives. 

by Denise Dykstra

We had three graduation open Houses to attend on the same day this past weekend. They were spaced in quite a way that I had the entire day planned out for us.

Later, when I thought about the day, I realized how it had truly showcased so much of our own lives in a short amount of time.

Our first open house was for a friend of our boys. It was located within walking distance of our home. We walked in and knew approximately 90 percent of the people. I hugged his mom, who is a friend of mine. We could have easily spent our entire afternoon there and had a great time. The conversation would never have been lagging. At any given point, everyone in our family had been spread throughout that church gym, chatting away with someone.

It also happened to be the open house we could spend the least amount of time at because we had the other two to attend. And, we could easily catch up with this graduate and his family later that week.

We were off then to a family graduation. While our nephew is dear to me, we are not involved much in his day-to-day life. Am I going to get a hug when I see him? I sure am. But distance limits keeping in touch to primarily only our large family get togethers and texts with his mom, who is my niece but also one of my dearest friends. We have raised our boys together, and we keep looking at each other in disbelief that we each have just one more in school. How did this happen to us?

All of us related to my great nephew (who is really my great nephew, along with being pretty great as a person) on that side of the family, sat together at a couple of tables and interacted with just ourselves. We didn’t know the other side of the family or the large group of friends that showed up to see him. We chatted with just ourselves, and we all left before the open house was over.

Charley Martin and Abe.

After that open house, we headed off to one more. We had to GPS the address to the home we were headed to. We hugged the parents and tried to remember when we had last seen each other – it had been years. We had the graduates pointed out to us, as we never have spent time with them. But these twin girls had long been prayed for before they had entered the world. Their parents who had raised them had been long time friends of my husband, and they as a couple had stood next to us at our own wedding. There was a history there. But as the years had gone on, we had lost touch beside an occasional Christmas letter. We only knew one other couple there, who we had also not seen in years.

Every open house we attended that day marked a very important part of our lives. It seemed fitting that we would begin the day with one of my son’s best friends from school, and end the day visiting with my husband’s best friend from high school, with family right there in the middle of it all.

Our lives felt like we had had a quick trip down memory lane that open house filled Saturday.

At some point when our boys were growing up, I had heard that your children’s friends will determine your own adult friends as your children grow. I thought that was a crazy thing to say, until it happened. We know more about our boys’ friends’ families and their lives and all the kids and what vehicles everyone drives, than we know about our extended family.

We didn’t plan that, it’s just who we are doing life with. Honestly, it’s a lot of fun.

I still get to be involved in my great nephew’s life, and will forever be connected with him, because he can’t get away from having me as an aunt (that is supposed to make you laugh, Sawyer!). It is an added gift that his mom and I have such a close knit bond. While we have not visited with our before-we-ever-had-kids’ friends, we have a connection there that time has not erased and that is a truly valued treasure.

I thought over these avenues of friendships in my life, as well as my friends who don’t fit into any of these scenarios, and that are still dear to me. What a great gift friendship is, and what a celebration it was to visit and hug and congratulate so many of our friends from so many areas of our lives, all on the same day.

My friendships formed from having the boys in school will no doubt change as time goes on. If ever I doubted that, this day of open houses reinforced that. Yet through the years and all the changes, I also am reassured to know that there is a bond in friendship that never really goes away. Perhaps those high school friends will become lifelong friends for my boys. Perhaps the parents and I will begin a new kind of friendship due to the bond we have shared all these years. Perhaps the relatives will start some new friendships, and if nothing else, those boys have some epic growing up stories to hold dear for all their lives.

The friends we have not visited with in years, we may all soon get reconnected as our lives have changed into days “after kids.” It is comforting to know that even when life gets hectic, even for years at time, those bonds built can withhold the test of time.

Friendship. What a lovely thing it is!

Tell me, do you have circles of friends like these? Tell me about some of your great friends!

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