Chicago

When the school year ends the girls and I pack our bags and head out.

The kick off to summer break always begins with a trip.

This year we headed to Chicago for three nights with beautiful friends who have become family.

We love them with all our hearts (so does our Anja girl).

It was Anja’s first road trip as a part of this tribe,

and each night she was worn out from the cuddles.

We’re so grateful for these people who love us when they aren’t required to;

who open their home and their hearts, and

whose wisdom and counsel is always shared with our best interest in mind.

If there is one example my girls remember from their years with me, I hope it is of friendship.

Chose wisely my girls.

When you find the women who will willingly go all in,

hold on tight.

There is nothing better than a life lived with others whose only desire is to see you soar.

 

 

 

 

The Husbands

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.