There are a few people in our lives who are there for the long haul. They are people with whom we have a shared history (whether we like it or not). Some of these people are familial - brothers or sisters, special aunts or uncles - but there are a select few who can be dubbed Friends for Life.
Some of you may be quite blessed and say you have a huge group of these incredible people surrounding you. A group that has and always will support each and every one of your ups and downs. My husband and I have but a handful of these treasures between us. I am not complaining. I am grateful for each one of these precious gems who've made my life richer. There have been countless friends who've bowed in and out of my life and I've tried to think of them as pieces of a giant puzzle - ones which no matter how jagged - have taught me to love and be a better person.
I am thinking of friendship this morning as my husband and I were lucky enough this week to have one such family grace us with their presence. It's a family with whom we have a shared past, one that brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.
Actually, it's a friendship I am lucky enough to have married into. In a nutshell, my husband befriended another young engineering student while in college here in Gainesville. My beloved's polar opposite, to be honest. Where my spouse is somewhat reserved and introverted, this character was (and is) full of life. A jovial sort who never meets a stranger and when he does he buys him a beer (or a crown and coke, if he really likes him).
When I watch the two of them together I laugh (or cry, thinking I may end up having to bail them both out of jail). They are two sides of the same coin and to me I don't think one could ever survive without the other. They share a bond now more than two decades old. One that was sealed early on when my beloved and I witnessed the birth of his first child the same weekend we were engaged. In a word, this man and his family are special.
That friend's baby is now starting her second year of college and my husband and I love her and her brother as our own. And their mom? Well, let's just say we don't even need words to communicate the love and respect we have. They are FAMILY. They are our heart.
We watched their babies grow up. We tailgated at Gator football games. We celebrated anniversaries and milestones in each other's lives. We even moved to the same town and for a few short months were part of eachother's daily lives. But destiny can be cruel and my husband's college buddy had to move his brood to Nebraska and we were meant to come full circle back to where it all started, in Gainesville.
Our world changed. No more tailgating. No more parties for no reason. We were at a loss. But, that loss reminds us what we have - Friends for Life. And no matter where they are, or where we are, we are one and always will be.