We always look forward to July because friends from all walks of life come over to our house for a red, white and blue BBQ. Friends from high school, from college, from work, from living near each other… all in one space. I always love seeing our friends who’ve known each other far too long, laughing and hugging. And seeing new people meet, hitting it off and leaving asking “How do you know them? They are great!” We know. That’s why we keep them.
We begin to lay out the spread: Mike’s recently acquired smoking skills pay off big time and gets everyone’s bellies overflowing with pulled pork, brined chicken, smash burgers and a brisket that made a late appearance. I always make loaded potato salad because it’s my favorite (and everyone else’s). And those birthday cake rice crispy treats just fly off the plate. All of our guests fill in the blanks with fancy baked beans, Asian salad, taco dip, watermelon, fruit tarts, pasta salad, buffalo chicken dip, cupcakes, cookies and the coveted push popsicles… it’s a smorgasbord and we pig out because we need to sustain our energy to keep up with the children.
I counted, like I do every year, just to have an idea of how many Jell-O ladened hands left prints on the glass and this year we topped our chart with 30 kids. 30 KIDS! Bunch of breeders. But we love them anyway. ;)
It takes a lot of work, but we always get excited for it. We stay busy planning and cleaning. Mike sweated his ass of cooking this year because he *had* to have smash burgers. (They are no joke delicious. I should write a blog about them.) I remind myself to carry around my camera before the daylight disappears. And lose my beer at least 10 times. But it’s all worth it. To see the kids have fun. To see the people we admire all in one place. The whole evening makes my heart swell three times larger than it was that morning.
I say it often, because I believe it: Friends are the family you choose.