Sometime in the late 80s my mom joined a local moms group. She formed a close relationship with a few other moms and they started a friendship that has lasted 25 years. There are five moms (and dads too!) who have helped raised me, who have loved me, supported me and who even fought over who would be giving me a bridal shower. When I had my girls, they were here with meals and offers to clean, watch babies and cook.
In our five families there are 11 kids. We range in age from 24 to 31, six girls and five boys. We vacationed together and spent Friday nights in Mexican restaurants. We spent years on the same swim team, dancing in the same dance studio and attending the same schools. We found each other dates to school dances and sometimes went together. We competed against each and with each other. We laughed. We fought. We argued over forts and video games and who was the smartest.
We grew up together because we had to. Our parents were friends and it meant that our social plans were dictated by them. It wasn't always easy. We are 11 individuals with distinct personalities, interests and opinions.
Today we are friends by choice.
It is hard for me to verbalize how important these people are to me. When I try to describe them to others all I can say is they are like family. I've certainly spent more time with them than a lot of family members. Some of them stood up for us in our wedding and every one of them attended. One of them is the godfather to one of our kids. They are the ones I want to email first when I have news.
A few years ago we decided to have a reunion trip each year. Now that we are spread across the country, seeing each other is more difficult. But this trip, which includes our growing group of spouses, shows how important we are to each other. We have known each other for almost 25 years, since we were children, and today we choose to be together.
I am so grateful and blessed to have these ten people in my life. Our relationships have not always been easy, but they have been worth it. When I think about what I want for my own kids, it is a group of families like I grew up with, with friends like I have. Thank you Matt, Dina, Richard, Cristina, Sarah, Kevin, Sara, Allison, Ryan and Brian. (That's in order of age. I think!)