Families today aren't as close as they used to be. Each person has his own interests, his own little world, and his own friends, rather than working and playing together. This summer, as my daughter neared the first day of kindergarten, I began to dread the day when I wouldn't know her friend's parents.
So to combat this family separation, and spend more time together as a family while still enjoying our friendships, today's challenge is to cultivate family friendships. We did just that one evening.
Speaking of being a good hostess, my friend Heidi is a very good one. She invited us over for dinner, not planning an elaborate meal or stressing about cleaning the house. Instead she suggested we meet at a playground for a picnic. My contribution to the meal was dessert: apple hand pies. Heidi brought bread and other sandwich fixings, and we had a great time eating and chatting. After the food was done, the kids went to play in the park, the men went to play ball hockey, and we women sat and talked while watching the kids.
What I loved about this idea, besides the simplicity, was that everyone had a chance to do what they liked doing, and get to know someone in a way that worked. Our two quiet husbands weren't forced to sit and "visit", and our kids could run around and be as loud as they wanted (which apparently included frequently flopping down on the sand and declaring, "I'm dead!"). It was very nice to get together as a whole family rather than just the moms and kids as it usually is for us.
Does your family regularly spend time with other families? Do you find yourself struggling to stay connected as a family? I'd love to hear tips on this topic! I know as my kids get older it will be harder to keep from losing touch.