a nest of warm relationships

We were in London last week visiting our dear friends, walking in the rain, sitting in red double decker buses, rolling down soft green hills, smelling roses and marveling at how they spill over doorways and gardens. We took our kids to the park at Primrose Hill and while Izzy played in the sandbox, Sally and I sipped wine in small cups talking about everything that popped into our heads.

I love sitting with Sally. She makes me laugh. And has for a very long time. So much so that one night while we played the telephone game with our kids and husbands in an Indian restaurant in Camden, I whispered in her ear and when she said some nonsensical bit about pants out loud - the way she said it - a memory of a million times of laughing with her on floors in childhood bedrooms and outside under the stars - I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling out of my eyes and tinkling in my pants. Truly, I peed a little. It was one of those good honest laughs that only comes around once in awhile.

I met Sally in 3rd grade in Arizona. We have been saying hello and goodbye in various states and countries since then. Her family moved from Scottsdale to Minneapolis when we were in middle school. But we always stayed in touch. We traveled around the world together on a boat in college, lived in California at the same time as adults, and now try to meet up every summer with kids in tow. She was a part of my family during the days of braces and Hostess cupcakes and losing both of my parents. I look at her children and smile at the resemblances to their mom; her daughter’s long legs and her son’s blue eyes, and I know that they too will always be a part of our family.

One of my mom’s oldest and closest friends is going through treatment for breast cancer at the moment. I hate that she is going through this. And I hate that my mom can’t be there for her in the same way she was for my mom. So my siblings and I check in with her and hope to see her soon because we all adore her. She is witty and funny, smart, and thoughtful. She too has been part of our family for a long time and always will be.

Distance and death don’t get in the way of our sustaining relationships. Sometimes they even strengthen them. These are the people that love us no matter how outside circumstances alter things. They are also the ones that laugh with us when we pee in our pants.

When listening to David Brooks on a podcast a couple of weeks ago, he said that his definition of happiness is, “a nest of warm relationships.”

I loved the way this sounded to my ears and settled in my chest. A nest of warm relationships, one that we build, settle and rest in, one that welcomes and nurtures us back to ourselves again and again, and one that always feels like home.