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A Garden

Friends are like a garden. All the petals, stems, and leaves are uniquely different from plant to plant. But the wildest of gardens have the most diverse flowers and herbs. All together, they make a beautiful thing to behold. Friends are like a garden. Together, they make a beautiful thing.

I found it hard to start over six years ago. We moved from Arkansas to Ohio in 2014. I thought it would be easy. It was not. The winter was bitter cold, the kids were young, and we didn't have a routine and everyone else did. I was certainly surprised when I became increasingly sad and lonely the longer we were here. I didn't want to be so sad.

I knew my children needed more. I needed more. I began looking for potential friends, for the boys, and for me. By chance, we met a few homeschoolers and took up with a group that gathered locally for field trips and outings. It was super low-key. I loved it. No obligations, just adventure, and fun. We enjoyed the outings and I needed time away from the house. We visited parks, museums, went on nature hikes, bike rides, whatever. We enjoyed every outing, but I found it hard to establish those deep connections I was seeking.

The event was at the Newark Earthworks, and I had always really wanted to go. It was also just another way for my kids to get their energy out. My mom was there, Jason showed up too, at the end. But it was the first car that drove up and parked that made all the difference that day. I knew she was a homeschool mom when she got out of the car with her two kids climbing out behind her. A young brown-haired girl and a blonde-haired boy came walking up. We began making introductions, and the blonde-haired little boy (whose locks were quite long) interrupted us all saying, "I'm a boy, so make sure you don't call me a girl!" And that was our introduction to Viktor. I laughed and said, "of course you are a boy!" I became excited for my two boys to have a new friend. More children showed up, and we had a good time. Finley and Brighton played with their new friend the whole time we were at the great circle (the earthworks). They climbed the mounds, ran wild through the trees, and It was magical.

We stayed for about two hours and had fun crafting and making dreamcatchers as well. When it was time to go, my kids did not want to leave. They hugged their new friend out of pure excitement, and said goodbye. In the car on the way home, I could feel their energy when they asked me "will we get to see our new friends again?"

We did get to see our new friends again. Many times more! And now they are the best of friends. For five years now we have built and established those connections that I so desperately needed.

I am so glad that things worked out the way they did. Now, I have a beautiful bouquet of friends, and so do my children. It can be hard to build new relationships, It takes time. Now, as some of us begin to part ways, I feel gratitude in my heart over meeting such wonderful families. My children now have "best buds" and "inside jokes" and a beautiful, diverse, garden of friends.

"I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3

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