There is always the inner circle – the people who you acquire on your own. Well, sort of on your own depending on how old you were when you met. Maybe it was fate that you both had Mr. Miller for sixth period History, or your parents worked together or your brother was in the same bowling league as theirs. No matter what the story was, at some point or another, you picked up a friend or two. If you are lucky you probably have a few of them around even years later.
Your second circle is belongs to the group in your significant other’s orbit. I will extend this to include children as well. These are the people who loved your husband or girlfriend long before you did. You might have seen potential in the free spirited artist who borrowed a pen from you in high school, but there were people who loved her when she was still growing out an unfortunate perm and had a collection of troll dolls. My second circle feels like family to me and I know that even if years go by without seeing each other it is always easy and comfortable to catch up with them.
Your third and fourth circles are heartwarming too and encompass the people who surround your circle and the people who surround your significant other’s circle, respectively. This includes people like your best friend’s cousin’s wife and your husband’s friend’s wife’s friend/mother/sister. They may not be people you see on a routine basis but when you stand back and think about it, you’ve shared other people’s milestones with them.
I was thinking about that tonight as I stood under twinkling lights in the backyard of our friends’ house. (By “our friends” I mean that my husband has been friends with the husband since middle school and the wife and I met about fifteen years ago when we were just girls dating them. I feel like at some point there is a common law that kicks in and proclaims them “our” friends). Anyway, we were at their house, celebrating their son’s 5th birthday when I looked around at a few faces. There were some of the same people who sat tables away from us at the couple’s wedding and smiles from others I had chatted with at the baby shower for that little boy as well as birthdays and other celebrations of the family. In a world where everything seems to go by so quickly I felt grateful for the pause and so thankful to see that although we are all in motion we are somehow still in a similar orbit alongside great people. It was a beautiful thing.