Each year, Frank and I host two big parties: The girls’ birthday in the summer and our Christmas party. This has evolved over the years – first with the fact that Elle was born just three days after Bea’s birthday. We’d always had a “invite everyone” attitude toward her party, but since we could combine both, we decided it’s better to err on the side of lots of kids and friends. Since it’s mid-summer, it’s easy to just open up the doors, let the kids run wild in the yard, and enjoy a barbecue.
Our Christmas party started when we moved into this house. We hosted our first one week after we moved in, partly because the reason we so loved this house was the ability to entertain, and partly for the motivation to unpack quickly.They’re our two big parties and take most of our energy, so it’s probably a good thing they’re spaced out.
One of my favorite parts is looking over the guest list. We’re in a season of diverse friendships: dance class, church, preschool, friends from forever, work friends, friends of friends who are now our friends, MOPS…. It’s a jumble and it’s fun to bring everyone together.
As a Maximizer, long-term friendships are the ones I look for. It’s hard for me to invest when a friendship is just for a small season. I like depth and seriousness in my relationships, and often these are found with consistency and time.
The funny thing is, you can’t tell which friendships are going to last or not. Friends we met in a brief class turn out to be ones we connect with longterm. Some we see frequently at activities are ones that stay surface-level.
My last few months in Paris, I was the last of my group of friends to leave. Partly because I was a year younger, partly for circumstances. At first, I thought I wouldn’t make any new friends that last semester – I’d just focus on graduating and be done. That’s not how it worked, and I’m so thankful for those friendships I made, even if they were just for a few months. Those friends taught me about life and faith in fresh ways, that my longterm friends hadn’t. Had I closed myself off to those friendships, I would have missed out on a lot.
Sometimes I feel that way with my community. It’s a bit precarious during these preschool years. I’ve been part of my MOPS group for 4 years now, and potentially could stay another 3 or so, until Elle is in kindergarten. That’s a long time, and I hope that our friendships continue after that, but already I’m seeing how hard it is to coordinate schedules, and we’ve only added an extra day to our preschool week this year! Same with our school friends or rec center friends – we are connected now, but what will happen when our kids are all in different schools full time?
This is when I need to live in the moment and recognize that some friendships will stick, beyond proximity, and some won’t. And that’s how life is meant to be. It’s not that our friendship is any less – it’s just seasonal.
I’m always amazed at the ones that do stick – my weekly walking buddy of nearly a decade was a friend from high school. We weren’t best friends then, and I would never have guessed where our friendship would end up. A mom I met at MOPS, but who doesn’t attend anymore, is still a friend we make time to see and I’m always rejuvenated by our conversations.
I’m learning to not compartmentalize friends too much: These friends are from preschool and we’ll only be friends during the preschool years. How sad would that be?! How much would I miss out?
What I’m learning is that, perhaps friendships won’t actually be longterm, but I can treat the moment as longterm. I can invest and know that while some friendships are seasonal, I wouldn’t want to miss out on this season at all.
Do you surround yourself with a few longterm friends or do you like to keep things fresh with new friends?
This post is Day 9 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.