I didn't share a childhood with these people. But we've grown up together.
I married into the most fantastic group of tight-knit, solidly awesome grade-school friends. Who all married the most amazing of women. And then spawned a bunch of pretty special kids.
I wasn't there when these guys played video games in middle school or threw parties in their parents' basements after high-school football games - but I was around for Round 2, in the three-bedroom Queens apartment they rented post-college. The one where John and Dan shared a room with two twin beds. The one where I ended up after an evening at the Irish Cottage, one April night in 1999.
Without this crew's acceptance, no doubt, I wouldn't have lasted long. And when Olin left for Cali, these people kept me company: taking me to cooking classes and on bike rides through Flushing Meadows Park, packing my shit into a U-haul and then navigating it through Manhattan.
We've danced at each others' weddings and celebrated new starts at celebratory showers; knit gifts for fresh babies and and offered tips for dealing with obstinate kids and tricky situations.
Now, on the rarer times when we're together, we eat and drink (far too much) and pass the time with fun and games -kid-friendly themes by day, irreverent ones by night. We laugh. And we laugh and laugh, realizing all the while how lucky we are to have each other.