They are an unexpected bonus.
Their wives, on the other hand, were a given.
I knew the minute we met, a thousand years ago as college freshman, that our friendship was forever. I don’t believe, at the time, I thought about how the men they would marry would participate in our story as well.
And now, fresh off a fortieth birthday celebration weekend in Florida with these ladies, I find myself reflecting on the unexpected gifts of our friendship- those men who love them.
I looked back through my library to find their photos. Not at all surprisingly there weren’t many pictures. Not because they aren’t present at our gatherings; but rather, because they are often the ones behind the camera, off wrangling toddlers or fixing worms to hooks on fishing poles.
These men are a constant presence.
The girls refer to them as their uncles.
Among the first to hold them upon their births;
participants in birthday parties, thanksgiving dinners, spring break adventures and the yearly Labor Day weekend reunion.
They’ve rough housed, fixed bike tires and encouraged silly behavior that their Momma would have never allowed.
The gifts extend beyond their influence on my girls.
I’ve sought their counsel on topics ranging from financial planning to the purchasing of new computers.
They’ve served as my cheerleaders, my running partners and my changer of light bulbs.
Most importantly they’ve encouraged and nurtured the friendship I share with their wives, never questioning my place in the lexicon of their family.
Thanks boys for loving your wives the way you do,
for being the incredible dads you are and
for being my friend.
I’m glad I’m on this journey with you.