We’ve just spent the last couple of days with old college friends and their families in the Wisconsin Dells. It’s been four years since we’ve been able meet up because, of all things, swimming.  Four years ago, our oldest daughter took up swimming at the high school level, doing a tremendous job of it. However, it took up Labor Day weekend, the weekend that our three families would travel to Illinois to meet up.  Over the last four years, it’s a lot of Saturdays that have been spent sitting watching a lot of swimming!

This Labor Day, as we looked at the schedule, we saw – NO SWIM MEET!! 🙂 Finally, we’d have a chance to meet up with our friends, see their kids, grill, drink excessively, and just hang out and be people, not just teachers/parents/community members, just people.

The trip went exactly as I thought it would. Julie and Ray with their kids, from Illinois were there first, and I jumped into the line for the water slides with their son and my daughters while my wife sat and talked.  I came over after a few trips down the slide and we laughed and talked as if four years hadn’t come between us. Kevin (my roommate for three years and one of my best friends) and his wife Kendra and family, then arrived, and again, so much talking and laughter as our kids quickly got reacquainted. We ate together, played games, hit the hot tub, and just caught up on our lives.  These are people who will be life long friends, period.

I’ve looked forward to this little get away for a while now, because I don’t have those friends around here.  Our other close friends live in Silver Springs, MD and Columbia, MO.  Here, I just feel like I struggle to find my place.  We tried the “get uber-involved” thing when we first moved in, were the parents volunteering for everything, and have always kept active in our girls’ lives, which keeps us out in the community as a whole.  However, we aren’t from here, and there lies part problem with small town living. Those relationships are built from childhood. We don’t have that advantage as our childhood happened elsewhere.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love my job, I love where I live, I think this has been a great place to raise a family, and I work with the most tremendous group of people that you could imagine.  It’s just sometimes hard when you are in your mid-40’s and still feel like you are looking for that sense of belonging, outside of your own home.  Someday, we’ll find it.  Until then, I look forward to the next meeting of the minds over brats, beer, and plenty of laughter! 🙂