The Friends We Made Together

Brats and burgers on the barbecue. Cooler filled with cold adult beverages and juice boxes. Laughter and the happy screams of kids playing fill the air. 

This familiar scene is matched with unfamiliar and new faces around the fire pit. New friends we're making together.

I've never been great at making friends. I mean I'm friendly (at least I hope I am) but it's never come easy to me. 

The first day of Kindergarten I called a little girl Melon-head all day because her name was Melanie and she was soft spoken. I've always been awkward, and not in a super endearing way. 

So when I was going through divorce and remarriage, I lost sleep over whether or not the friendships I had made would weather the storm. Thankfully, the people who loved me and who I loved didn't define our relationship by my relationship status.  And I love them for that. 

My husband is lucky to have wonderful friends too. The kind of close-nit types that have inside jokes and still call each other by obnoxious high school nicknames. They too have stuck with him through the good times and bad, and they are awesome.

What I appreciate and love about these circles of genuine humans who we need and love, is that they've not only accepted our new spouse, but have welcomed them to the family.

When we moved a year ago, I felt really unsure of whether we would build a community together with our kids. I worried that it would be too hard to make new friends. That it would be too hard for me to make new friends. Eric is very friendly, and everyone likes him instantly, but I have to grow on people. 

But I got lucky. Really lucky to have a neighbor who is just magical. The kind of awesome human who didn't judge me for being too flooded by transitioning two families to walk across the street and make small talk after work. She didn't care that I honestly forgot to wave in the morning in passing. She was patient with me. She even invited me over when Eric wasn't around. And I came to love her for that. 

Now, I can't imagine not having this awesome woman, her funny husband and their crazy cool kid in our lives. And what I've come to learn is that I'm not the only person to benefit from her kindness. She has literally brought together an entire neighborhood of people who were strangers just a few months ago.

This group around the fire, they are a new kind of friends. The ones we are making together. Part of our growing community. These new relationships are special because our stories are together, both my husband and I, and our kids as a unit. They haven't known it any other way. They are the friends we made together.