Best Friends Forever!

I’m honored to be over at my friend, Debby’s to kick off her series on friendship. Here’s an excerpt and I hope you’ll join the conversation over at her place!

ElleWhen we moved into this neighborhood, we couldn’t have known what awaited us, just across the street. If we had been able to include neighbor profiles in our search criteria, I couldn’t have imagined better. A family with a daughter, just a few months younger than our oldest? How perfect!

Now, hardly a day goes by without these girls yelling out windows, running into open garages, insisting on playdates. They yell through the street, Best Friends Forever!!! and hug and fight and grapple their way through each playtime. No matter how much tattling has happened or how many times feelings were hurt, we always leave with a massive bear hug and the declaration of Best Friends Forever!

I’ve never experienced a childhood best friend. Across the street from our house was a church parking lot and a kind old lady who collected elephant figurines. Read the rest over at Debby’s!

What about you? Did you have a best friend and a child? Are you a Best Friends Forever sort of friend or a seasonal friend?

Raising Friends

When we first found out we were having two girls, I immediately thought, They’ll be friends!! Even though my brother and I are close and Frank and his sisters are, too, there seems to be something about a same-sex sibling relationship. I’ve always envied people who had sisters – who had a built-in best friend growing up and into adulthood.

IMG_3935A friend and I were recently laughing at that ideal. She and her sister are close in age and are friends. But she said she wouldn’t consider them best friends. Another friend said that she and her sister, who are 9 years apart in age, are still quite close. I suppose it’s more of a personality thing than an age thing.

The past couple months have seemed like a turning point for Bea & Elle’s relationship. After the newborn phase, where Bea was disappointed in Elle’s lack of interaction, to the frustrated She’s messing up my stuff!!!! phase, we’re finally in (somewhat) of a playmate phase.

The two are inseparable. They’ll draw together, mother their dolls together, eat together, read together. Elle can’t wait until Bea is done with school and Bea rushes to her with a bear hug at the end of the morning.

I know we still have many years of fostering friendship with these two. But I hope that these moments are a true glimpse into the future. That, through the tween and teen years and into college and adulthood, they’ll continue to create and share food and perhaps even mother together.

What is your relationship with your sibling like? How do you foster friendship among your kids?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “Friend.”

Slowing Down to Enjoy the Journey

For my birthday, friends gave me a gift card to a local bookstore with instructions to enjoy an afternoon browsing – either online or in person. I thought about this invitation to simply look at books and so I invited my friend along. We both have young kids so time spent together in a bookstore seemed amazing.

We spent the morning wandering the store, talking about life, meandering in our conversation. There was no agenda and it was lovely getting to simply catch up. I even decided not to buy a book from my to-read pile and let a title jump out.

It was such a reminder of the need to be intentional with friends. This woman and I see each other fairly regularly, but rarely one-on-one. I was tempted to spend a morning alone but knew that I would rush through the store, buy something quickly, and return home to relieve Frank of errands. Having a friend with me helped me slow down and enjoy myself a bit more.

Last week we were in California visiting family. One evening, after the girls had gone to bed, my aunt was working on her Bible study and I was reading. She invited me over to talk through the lesson with her and we spent the next hour discussing and combing through a verse in Nehemiah I most likely would have skimmed over on my own. In the midst of reading about those involved in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, we talked about current events, our own views of qualification, and how God uses us in unexpected ways. My daily quiet time is alone, but this was a reminder of the importance of sitting side by side and talking.

img_3240I’ve been thinking about modeling a lot when it comes to my life and my girls. It’s faster and easier to do things without them. Dinner prep is way less frustrating and a lot safer without my two sous-chefs. Reading my morning devotional is a lot more pleasant when I can focus on the words. And yet, that’s not reality. So, I pull out extra carrots at dinner and let Bea chop them. I brush my teeth while reading Spurgeon and letting Elle climb around the bathroom. I include and model what my own day looks like.

Just now, I’ve struck a deal with Bea to help me clean the playroom. She originally suggested I do it while she was at school and in some ways, it would take a lot less time and be a lot less stressful if I did just do it myself. But it’s not my playroom or my mess. So we agreed that we’d do it together.

Time alone to rejuvenate is something that is essential to most of us, in varying degrees. But I’m reminded more and more that life is done together. It may not be easier but when we choose to sit side by side, the journey seems richer.

How do you intentionally slow down? What are some ways you stop to enjoy this journey?

Friend

The American way is to not need help, but to help…. What saved me was that I found gentle, loyal and hilarious companions, which is at the heart of meaning: maybe we don’t find a lot of answers to life’s tougher questions, but if we find a few true friends, that’s even better.

Anne Lamott, Stitches

Of our friends, there are three couples we see on a very regular basis. These are people we saw right after Bea was born, people with whom we share amazing news and sad news, people we make time for during tax season because three months is too long to go without seeing them. We’ve practiced being vulnerable together and have shared laughter, tears, worries, and successes.

When we first started getting together, as newlyweds and dating couples, we pulled out all the stops. We tried recipes we would never make just for the two of us; We saved our food budget and splurged on incredible dishes; We went through multiple bottles of wine and finished off with whiskey or port and left after midnight. As time passed, our meals continued but now prosciutto-wrapped halibut, chili, and take-out pizza are interchanged freely. We sometimes still stay up too late and drink too much, but with kids and pregnancies, we also go to bed earlier and drink more water.

I love that we’ve reached this place of comfort with our friends. We still use getting together as an excuse to try fancy new recipes but there’s no pressure if we plop the pizza box on the table, open a beer, and laugh together.

Linked with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write for five minutes without editing.