Got an email today reminding me about a birthday party that Thing One is attending tomorrow. From the other names on the email, I can tell that Thing One's whole posse was invited. They're a tight-knit crew of eight or ten boys and have mostly been together since kindergarten, although there are a few newer arrivals mixed in. As I've mentioned before, my family moved a lot when I was a kid. At the time, I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea of growing up with one group of friends since the concept was so alien to me, although at various points I desperately wished for that kind of stability. It's funny that I am watching my son grow up with the life I wanted as a kid--living in one house in one town, with all the same kids from grade school through high school--and deeply ironic that he is begging for a passport and wants us to take him somewhere (anywhere!) out of the country!! The grass is always greener, I guess. We might not have had much by way of roots while I was growing up, but I sure saw a lot of the world in the course of our adventures.
We've been in this house for almost twelve years and in this state for over fourteen, which blows my previous record for living anywhere (six years or so) all to hell. As my kids are putting down roots here, so am I. And I suppose that over time I'm acquiring somewhat of a posse of my own, although in thinking about it, it sure is an eclectic bunch of people. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Had lunch with four of them today: my "ninjas," some of the girls who do taekwondo with me. The Indian instructor, an accountant by training. She's tiny but deadly and an absolute knockout in a sari, although she doesn't wear traditional garb very often. The Egyptian Muslim instructor, who is also a professor of English and keeps the wickedest, sharpest sense of humor you ever saw buried under her hijab along with her hair. The Filipina, who runs a YMCA childcare program when she's not kicking ass and who keeps us all supplied with ginger tea from her uncle's Asian-import store. The Italian-American gym teacher, who runs marathons for fun and could probably bench-press me. Every one a wonderful, strong, supportive woman. Oh, and every one a black belt or higher, too...not a lunch table to mess with! Then there's my two closest geocaching friends, men of 55 and 70 respectively who share my obsession with solving puzzles and finding hidden things and who cheerfully hang off bridges and hike up mountains and wade through swamps with me while doing it. And of course my best friend B, who has *zero* interest in either martial arts or geocaching but who has my back in every imaginable scenario, loves my kids like her own and can make me laugh till wine comes out my nose!
If friends are indeed the family that we choose for ourselves, I've chosen well, even though this group might look a bit odd on a Christmas card. And since I'm not planning to move ever again, they are stuck with me for the duration...hope they're okay with that! :)