I had a group of friends over one morning through the Christmas break. There were five of us, just a casual coffee-and-muffin kinda thing after our workout. It was a chance to catch up and snag some girlfriend time in a world that needs more girlfriends. Meanwhile, my kids were loving the extra action in our living room, and proudly demonstrated their toy saxophone skills, played Spot It with a new audience, and snacked right along with us on the food platters spread out on the coffee table.
I loved it.
I loved it because I love low-key, last-minute get-togethers. I loved it because I love to show my children the value and importance of nurturing friendships. I loved it because they were involved too.
We host friends quite regularly and as much as we can, we try to keep our children involved in those gatherings. Come to think of it, we try to keep our children involved in everything we do. They often visit my workplace, watch sporting events at my husband’s school, and tag along to the gym. We take them to festivals and rodeos, baseball games and the movies, live theatre and hotel overnights. We try to expose them to a life well-lived and well-loved. I take live-in-the-moment advice to heart, and I’ll chose experiences over stuff every time.
But I think these friendship experiences are especially important for them to be a part of, and help to build the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. In those couple of hours on a wintery holiday morning, they learned some important social lessons like not interrupting a person’s story, how good a belly laugh feels, and how fulfilled someone can be just by hosting people in their home. They watched, they listened, they observed, they contributed. They grew.
“What was your highlight today?” I asked them, as I often do, during their baths that night. “Having your friends over,” they said. Me too kids, me too.