When we were younger, we had "best friends" because our parents would force playdates enough that we could justify using the term to describe them. We were lying, though. We have always known that we came second to whatever friend we believed was our closest. No. Matter. What. that friend had a friend who ranked slightly higher that we understood would get first dibs on sleepovers, and that was (sadly) just the tip of the iceberg.
By Junior High, for whatever reason, Jay and I bounced around trying to find NEW people or NEW youth groups to have an honest chance at being someone's first-- the one they HAD known the longest or who HAD been through the most with another person.
In high school, Jay and I both had a handful of "best friends"-- ones that we were always seen with, friends we had practically lived with and vacationed with. Still, we knew those few friends had that one other best friend. I knew that my two "best friends" had either a twin sister or a BFFFFF that would outrank them when it came time to walk at graduation or to pick a maid of honor. Jay, as we have discussed, also knew that to be true in his circles.
Well, then to further alienate ourselves and shred every strand of hope that we could be the FIRST in a new and permanent college+ friendship, we got married to each other while everyone was living the dorm life and expanding their social circles.
It was just us. We were each other's FIRST...and ONLY. It was cute, romantic and likely quite Biblical of a concept, but I still longed for more (and I know he did, too). We told ourselves "this is just a phase...once everyone else starts getting married and we meet people through work and kids, we'll finally have those lifelong friends we can vacation with... it will happen...someone will finally pick us first."
Wrong! Though having a child does make finding married friends with similar lives EASIER, it doesn't make their willingness to be our TRUE friends any easier. Though being a young, involved and outgoing Christian family SHOULD lend itself to other families...ministry and adventure...permanent belonging, we still remain as F. Scott Fitzgerald would say "within and without".
Here's what we are realizing: the couples with kids that have maintained the FIRST position with another couple with kids then have a guaranteed FIRST default best friend for their CHILDREN.
That's what has been a tough pill to swallow for us. We know lots of lovely people with very sweet kids who genuinely like Nolan. Then when it comes time for multi-family vacations, birthday adventures and spur of the moment outings, Nolan isn't the one anyone's kids are requesting. It's our lives all over again. The cycle is complete. Can you sense my panic? It has only grown as we've been blessed with more kids and their parents...more networks of people. Jay and I are just sitting at dinner complimenting another couple senseless listening to Nolan giggling with their kiddo outside and thinking, "Ok, can you please say it already? Can Nolan please be a best friend for your kid? Can we please just have that security? Can we buy you better gifts at birthdays or write more cards expressing our appreciation for you? What can we do? Please, somebody claim us. Let us be FIRST!"
I'm not sure if any other person can say they've never been ANY friend's first before outside of my little family. If you can, I'd love to hear about it. It just seems so strange! I mean, I totally WAS first one time and self-destructed--let down my friend. One time it COMPLETELY was on me. Does anyone else find that their family is within AND without? Surrounded by nice people but not truly belonging to any of them? Nothing is reciprocated or expressed?
Well, as Jay and I continue pondering this epidemic and continuing to give thanks and pray for the beautiful people we do know (and occasionally get to adventure with), I will cling to this: We are FIRST to Jesus. We are FIRST to each other and we are FIRST to Nolan.
Jesus doesn't have a caste system he operates from. He doesn't have children He favors or believers He would rather commune with or wrap His arms around. If you needed to hear that today, I hope it sinks in. If you were the only person on earth, full of flaws and your own special sins, Jesus STILL would have loved you and saved you through His blood on the cross. God holds all of the members of your family in His hands and He knows exactly what you need. He can supply more than enough fellowship to sustain you and He can be a TRUE friend to you for each and every day of your life.
The best friend status you have with your spouse IS sufficient. Anything else is a blessing, but not necessary to your emotional health or growth. If you do feel you are a friend to your husband at the core, pursue that until God takes you home-- and let your children see the fun and JOY!
Your children don't have the worries that you carry-- or the slightly irrational fears. All they know is that their mom is their mom and that their dad is their dad. If you are meeting that call fully, you will have one unbelievably satisfied and fulfilled child. You will always be their FIRST choice for a hug. As they grow, hopefully you can be their FIRST call for advice and their FIRST guestroom to crash when they need to.
Those are the relationships that are PERMANENT and require our attention. They are commanded of us. Commissioned! They are the eternally significant and binding expressions of love that will guide us to our last breath.
That's how I chose to spin my discouragement today, anyways, and I hope you find some comfort in my musings too. <3 Thanks for reading!!