Our family has just said goodbye to some good friends for the 6th consecutive year. After college, Nick and I moved to our current area so that he could attend seminary. If you know anything about seminary life, you know that almost all of the students come from different parts of the world and most people (unlike us) move somewhere away after graduation. So for years we have been making the sweetest of friendships only to know that we would have to say good-bye two to four years later. Nick and I have dealt with these farewells as best as possible (good-byes are never easy), but saying goodbye these days takes on a whole new aspect since our kids are involved.
No parent likes to see their child sad, ever. Calvin and Max love people quickly and dearly, so it breaks my heart to hear them asking me if their friends can come over when they have moved across the country. We are also unable to have a lot of our friends and church family over since the drive and traffic can get pretty brutal at our church, so they get sad over this too. We are even going to give Calvin a Disneyland birthday party this year with just family in order to distract him from the fact that he cannot invite his best friends over for a party; because they don't live close by anymore :/. Poor guy. Loss and pain is inevitably going to hit my kids in life and I do want them to learn how to deal with this inevitability. At the same time though, I also want to be wise and sensitive to their feelings. It's because of this that I am hoping to venture out and make some new friends who will be around for longer than just a few short years.
I'm a person who does not like change and would stay in my own comfortable bubble of friends if I could. By venturing out in search of new friends of different backgrounds and places that we normally wouldn't meet, I hope as a family that we can make some great new friends. Calvin starts preschool this year at a christian school that is in a different denomination than our own (we are in the PCA), so I know that will open many doors to make some new friends. While Calvin is at school, I hope to try out a "mommy and me" class with Max. In addition to this, by going to new date night spots and through being more open with our neighbors and community members we hope that we can make a whole new set of friends; ones that might not move very soon or who have long had roots in our area. I can just see it now though. We make new friends and then watch, we will be the ones to move away. I know that life happens. I'm trying to have realistic expectations, especially to Nick's particular vocational path. Our families desire to have friends over for hospitality and to have a group of people to do life together with has been placed upon our hearts from God.
So if you are like me and you find yourself in need of some new friends (while still loving on the far away ones), join me in being bold and doing something completely different. Let's friend those whom we would not normally talk to and open our hearts and homes to the possibility of making new lifelong friends. As the children's nursery rhyme goes, "make new friends, but keep the old."