Posted by AVM

Our three-year-old daughter Lovey most recently has been very interested in the idea of “Family.”  No doubt brought on by the addition of her new sister, Lovey asks me repeatedly to go over and over who are the actual members of our family.  She’ll list all of us by name: “Daddy, Mommy, Baby CeeCee, and Lovey are all in our family.”  Yes, Lovey, that’s right.  She goes on to include her grandparents and her aunt and uncle when continuing her list.  She even adds our cat, Monk, when she goes on.  This idea of family, to Lovey, means that everyone is together, and remains together.  It’s not exclusive to people, as Lovey nightly will say, as the water drains from the bathtub, “The water’s going back to the ocean to be with its family.”  I love it.  It’s the idea that family is absolute.  You can always go home to them.  We stick together.  . . no matter what.  My parents taught me that.  And it’s one of the things I hope stays with my girls, as it’s most important to me.

Over the past three days, I had the pleasure of spending time with all of my best friends and their children.  These women have been my friends since adolescence and early adulthood, and we have been through the wars together.  First loves and heartbreak, crazy high school and college experiences, sickness and death, careers and marriage, triumph and tragedy – we’ve seen it all and have survived to tell the tales, always by one another’s side.  Now, all living within about a half hour of each other, our families spend time together almost weekly.  We share endless inside jokes, have traveled the world together, shared countless meals and late nights out, and have long had an easy verbal shorthand.  And after all this time, there’s something about seeing your close, longtime friends become mothers that adds a deep facet to the many complex layers of friendship you’ve built over the years.   It is surreal, and I wasn’t expecting it when it was just all of us doing homework, shopping at the mall, and gossiping late into the night. I never saw it coming.  To see our children play together and to imagine what the future holds as they grow up in each others’ lives warms my heart endlessly.  They are my family of friends, and I’ll be connected to them until the day I die.  I am grateful.  Grateful doesn’t cover it.

On our way home yesterday, Lovey carefully named all of my friends’ children.  Then she added, “They’re my family too.”  Yes, Lovey.  They are your family too.  And don’t you forget it.