Yesterday, I wrote about why Christmas might be unpacking early on the streets of our cities.
But I dare not overlook Thanksgiving.
Especially with the most extraordinary friendships in my life.
I was struck, once again, by this fact when I walked into a warm bubbly home on Sunday afternoon.
Our family had been invited to a friends-giving lunch. I’d heard of them but never been to one. These particular friends were new ones to our lives. Just having gotten to know them over the past year.
Other than them and one other family, we knew no one in the room. Friends from the husband’s or wife’s work circle or college circle or family circle. How we’d lucked into such a welcoming circle, I’m not sure but very grateful.
Old and young circled around the full-to-overflowing kitchen island to bless the food whose aroma had filled the space and tantalized us all. Tables inside and out were set. The fireplace flickered. A side table nearly buckled under the weight of the desserts to come.
We sat at a table with both hosts’ parents who were fantastic. We talked food and laughed and went back for seconds. Connecting with friends, new and old.
It was magical.
As are the moments filled with friends so regularly.
Just over a week before, one of my closest friends and I hosted a small dinner for newlywed friends of ours. Because of an unexpected cold front, we moved the party indoors and the rooms were full, delightfully so. There was so much laughter you didn’t know which way to look. Food was good and friends were better.
I made it back down the street to my house right around 1 am. That’s late for this 40-something. Texts flew back and forth the next day about how good the time was and how grateful everyone was.
It was fantastic but rare.
We are a busy people.
Particularly if you are in a season with kids at home, you rush from home to school to sports to dance or whatever else fills your calendar. You try to carve out special events for your family like plays or movies, but it’s tight. You find yourself double-booked and reprioritizing. If you’re life looks like mine, your first free slot is already in February.
So these moments are harder to come by. Time with only adults, rich with laughter and story-sharing. We squeeze it in for special events or holidays. But then there are eternally long periods without it.
I don’t know what I’d do without my morning voxes. You’ve heard about them here. I use the Voxer app to keep up with three girlfriends. One a co-worker who is no longer in the same office as I am and the other two share a chain with me so we can talk nearly every day. (It’s like a really long voice mail you can leave during your commute, as they do as well, so you don’t have to worry about calling at an inopportune time.)
Plus, I work out with my co-hosting friend I mentioned above in the early morning. Not only does it help us keep up with our rowdy kids, but it gives us space to connect and support each other.
These moments are critical in my life.
Yet we need more. We need to be packed into living rooms. Hugging hello and goodbye. Huddled in the kitchen, shoulder to shoulder, noshing on cheese and olives. Laughing about a car dialogue, benchmarking disciplinary tactics or supporting each other through loss.
Connecting in person.
Around the table.
Connecting with nary a cell phone in sight. The only time I saw a phone in either of these life-giving parties was to snap a picture.
There’s science behind this. Newsweek, among others, published a recent study that showed that “engaging and investing in close friendships are associated with a variety of psychological and physical health benefits.” Of course! I felt healthier just being in the room with such funny and interesting people.
‘Tis the season.
But let’s not just find time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to give thanks and find space for these friendships.
Have a President’s Day party! Enjoy a Columbus Day cook out! Cook up a Cinco de May celebration!
Find a reason.
Find the space.
Make room in your life for your adult friendships.
It can be messy and impromptu or fancy and planned. But don’t let this fall off your priority list.