Monday, August 31, 2009

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old!

PHOTO: Our children with their good friends who moved away last summer. We were so happy to be together and catch up on each other's lives.

I think that the old saying, "Make new friends, but keep the old ... One is silver and the other gold ..." has a profound significance in Army Families. First of all, you generally have no choice but to make new friends. You're either constantly moving to a new place where meeting new people is essential or you're the one left behind while good friends move away, making the task of making new friends equally important.

For my children, making friends has become somewhat of a life skill, polished by years of practice. I am amazed by their resilience and ability to strike up conversations with just about anyone, just about anywhere. In fact, the traditional safety lessons about "Stranger Danger" just don't work with our kids. To them, there is no such thing as a stranger ... what we would call "strangers" are, in their eyes, simply new friends just waiting to be made.

This past weekend, we had the joyful opportunity to spend time with some "old" Army friends. The husband is a college classmate of my husband's; the wife and I met at their wedding and became fast friends years ago when we prepared for and supported each other through our first year-long deployment. Our children are close in age and consider each other pseudo-siblings. We were all-but heartbroken when they had to move away over a year ago, but knew that, in the way the Army works, that we'd be sure to see each other again.

Our friends were able to make us a stop on their summer vacation last week and we were thrilled. One night while they were here, we gathered with some other Army friends, all anxious to see our visitors again. We all brought our children and sat outside at a lakefront restaurant, visiting, reminiscing, and solving all the world’s problems together. It occurred to me as we enjoyed the evening, laughing and remembering fun times, that this was a true joy of the Army, fast friendships with those who understand and love and live the same life you do.

So thank you, Army friends, old and new, for making this life such an enjoyable one!

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