I talk a lot about our hometown. I have always had a lot to say about it–how I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave, how I wasn’t sure I wanted to move back. I haven’t always had the best things to say about it, but as I get older, I appreciate it more and more. I love that I can feel safe with my child playing at the playground. I love that I know most of the teachers he will have as he goes off to school next year–in fact, I worked with many of them. But, most of all, I love the relationships that this small town has brought me.
When you live in a town like ours, you go to kindergarten with the same kids you graduate with. You stick tight for at least the first few months of college, it’s nice to have a familiar face or two. For the most part, we thrive on the known. I have said many times that God blessed me with Mr. Gray right here in our hometown because He knew how hard it would be for me to date someone I wasn’t totally sure about, much less marry them. (Side note: I don’t care why He chose him for me; I’m just glad He did.)
As we spend more time in our hometown and I watch second generation friendships (some even third) between our good friends’ kids and the boy, I grow to love it all even more. People love our son simply because he’s ours, and they grow to love him more as they know him. We do the same with their kids.
We have the kinds of friendships, twenty-five and thirty years later, that some people only get once in a lifetime–and often only for a season. I have friends I can call anytime, for anything, and know I will be loved and supported. They’re who I call for the exciting things and the scary things. I might talk to them every day for a stretch and then go for months with merely a text or social media interaction. We never miss a beat. We always have each others’ backs. We love each other when it’s hard. We say the tough stuff. We’re what I often call lifers.
We were kids together, we’re raising kids together, and hopefully we’ll even get to do grandkids together some day.