(Although I feel we could write a whole book on that subject alone.)
No, this is a post about being a grown up and learning how to make new friends.
(We'll get to the "teens and beans" part later.)
Friendship is a very precious thing. A very important thing. We were created to have friends.
I'm far from perfect at it...well...
let's be honest,
I'm not even very "good" at it anymore.
And it's a bummer 'cuz,
I was a pretty good friend as a kid.
I loved my friends.
I wanted to spend every day with my friends.
I didn't really have major trouble making friends.
In fact a good handful of my childhood friends are still in my life today.
That is just grace.
But, after marriage and..boom boom, two babies (that's marriage and babies all within a span of just a few years) I dreaded hanging out with new friends.
Maybe I was just trying to survive!
Seriously, the word "playdate"(for me) could be translated loosely as..."ulcer".
And it wasn't that I didn't try.
I tried very hard.
But every get together with other moms and their "angels" seem to become a roast fest about husbands, or a guilt trip about everything from snacks to birth control.
And then there was our AbbySue...unlike any child that entered the playground. A little soul with unashamed confidence and no self consciousness whatsoever, who hugged anything living without warning, and dressed like a walking rainbow.
Parents don't know what to think about a kids like AbbySue.
Kids are even worse.
I became protective. I didn't like feeling embarrassed about my own precious daughter just because she didn't "fit in". I decided then and there to just enjoy motherhood without the added burden of "mommy and me".
And I don't regret it. Those early years as a mom were full of adventure for AbbySue, Benji, and I. Those were precious times. Sometimes I would feel bad that I dodged another playdate but now, looking back, I'm so grateful for that time with my babies.
The other issue that was tough for Aaron and I was that most to almost all of our old friends who were around the same age as us, just didn't have kids yet. Our friends were so sweet and encouraging, and we loved hanging out, but it was hard to relate when it came to the season of life that we were in.
No one's fault, just the fact.
So, navigating our own friendships into adulthood, young parenthood, moving here and there and everywhere, has been a little tough.
Yeah, the moving part didn't help things.
Just when we would start really connecting with an awesome family it was time to move...again.
We had to make another "move" about seven months ago that inevitably changed some very deep and dear friendships.
We left our church.
We didn't want to "leave" our friends too, but when you aren't at the same place on a weekly basis anymore your dynamic naturally changes.
It's hard. And it's sad.
So, here we are again...struggling in the friend department.
And I don't mean friends like the kind you will always have and will always stay in touch with no matter how many miles or changes separate you.
Those are the gold friends.
The ones you will have forever.
I mean the "hear and now friends", the kind of friends that you allow inside your life today.
Enter Teens and Beans.
God is so good...so very good.
I would have never imagined that He would bring friends to us through our teenagers friends but that is just what He did.
So, colorful AbbySue is now a freshman at Silverton High School and has connected with a group of friends that you could only pray that your child would find. These kids are so amazing. They truly love one another, pray for each other, encourage one another, and are all so imperfectly perfect together.
They are three boys and three girls. They are wicked smart and creative. They play poker and listen to records together. They are safe.
What a gift right!?
I mean, Aaron and I would've been satisfied with just this alone, but..
God had something even bigger.
These kids have amazing parents.
Parents who are funny, and cool, and easy to be around, and who love Jesus too.
Parents who are in the same season as we are...
and here's where it gets even crazier...even parents who went to High School with Aaron!
And it doesn't stop there, because these families have younger kids too...kids Ben's age and even Zibby's age...and get this...
They all get along!
So naturally we parents decided to start hanging out more.
Usually on Wednesday nights.
We share dinner and hang out...
we usually make Mexican food.
(That's the "Beans" part).
And I know it's good because it's not hard to hang out with these precious people.
We are one giant, genuine group of new friends, new stories, new memories.
We come from all different walks of life.
And for right here and how our paths have joined up.
I can't let them pass us by.
I have to open my hand and let go of my fears and just hold onto this gift right now.
Because He gives and He takes away and He gives again.
Blessed be His Name.