Friends are hard to come by. I mean, it's easy to meet people to visit with or say hello to occasionally, but good friends are just hard to find. I realized this last night, sitting around Marie and Adam's dinner table in their kitchen. Our dinner was disguised as a business meeting as David and Adam hashed out the details of David becoming the official handyman to the Parker estate....but it was really just an opportunity for us to get to spend some time together. The noise of the kids playing in the next room was a familiar and almost soothing backdrop to our casual conversation. Marie and Adam sitting close to one another, almost like high school sweethearts; Ashley on one side of the table, performing crowd control when the kids wandered into the kitchen; David and I on opposite ends of the table, stealing little glances and grins back and forth. It was a comfortable and pleasant evening. But just sitting and laughing with our friends was so bittersweet....knowing that we have finally found a place where we belong, where we feel welcome, and now some of our first real "friends" are leaving. It's a reality that we've all been facing this summer, but it is all just now hitting home. You don't find people that become a part of your life every day, and the relationships that we've formed are much more than casual acquaintances. We are true friends.
But our evening wasn't just melancholy and tinged with the overshadowing sadness of saying goodbye. No, Ashley's niece Alis made sure there was plenty of comic relief. In my entire life, I have never seen a kid more klutzy. She probably could be the spokesperson for the phrase, "two left feet." And it's not just that she's clumsy....it's almost cartoonish the way she'll just fall over. It's like someone has come and stolen her brain temporarily, and her little body just crumples to the floor. She can fall off of a chair, a couch, or just fall over while standing in place. And walking? You might as well ask the girl to walk a tightrope without falling just by asking her to walk across a room. You can bet she's gonna hit the dirt at some point. Lord knows I'm going straight to hell, but I just can't stop laughing at her. It would be different if she was bothered by her apparent inability to remain upright, but she's unphased. She pops up from the floor, unflappable. It's more than I can take. Laughing at a bumbling three-year-old? Not my most shining moment.
And how sweet it was when Kalena, Tanner and Matthew all conspired on a plot for Kalena to spend the night at the Parker house. And when they were finally all given the okay, they did a happy little dance in the playroom. It sent me back to my own childhood, and I remember that feeling of tingly anticipation, hoping my mom would give her consent. It makes me smile to think that I could give that experience to my own daughter.
I'm glad my own children have found friends that they care about, just as David and I have. I hope that they'll learn the value of true friendship, and how it can make an ordinary life sparkle. I hope that, although so many of our friends are moving in new directions and taking different paths, that sparkle will turn to a rich glow that will last our lifetimes. How cheesy am I, anyway? Maybe I should write Hallmark cards. Hmm, maybe then I could capitalize on my irrational need to say sappy and emotionally unnecessary things in a grammatically correct way. It's perfect, dontcha think?