We qualify as family members by having weathered life together: celebrating births and trying times equally. Toasting each other as much as we roast, knowing all comes from a place deep within each loving heart- an acquired skill when teasing a girlfriend about her quirks (we all have them). The hugs happen freely; the games are endless.
They come and give my house a run for it's money: their children putting things in corners of the house I never knew existed. They leave dirt face imprints on the pillow cases and scatter boots and underwear throughout each room. When every last thing is out of place, these same friends make a game of putting it back together again. They take turns using my favorite vacuum- cracking jokes the whole time.
These are the kind of friends who can comfort your child almost better than you. The kind who grin and bear it during the witching hour of dusk when children lose their minds after hours of playing and no nap: the flip side being every small body in bed by 7pm and every adult at the fire pit with a beverage and a smile. The smiles turning into grins then outright gut busting laughing by the time wee hours have rolled in with the full moon.
The most special kind of friends who say “I love you” to each other and mean it. The value in those words is priceless.
Memorial Day need be celebrated for all those who have sacrificed and deserve our thanks 1,000 times over. It is a jackpot that Memorial Day also provides an oasis of “friend family” time; keeping me buoyant in strong love the whole year through.
I can hardly stand how much I miss them all. A year is a long time to wait on something, but come May, when car after car starts rolling down our dirt road, it feels as if 365 days have passed in the blink of an eye. I scramble run to greet them all with a rousing "I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!".