On Saturday a couple from our uni days, who now live in Oxford, travelled to see us with their two lovely children and their enormous dog. And then on Sunday we had our friend from France - from Husband's French degree days, who lives in Arras and was in London on his school exchange programme - along for lunch. We were a bit catered out by the end of it tbh, but it was fun while it lasted. Actually it was lots of fun.
After they had all gone on Sunday evening Middle One declared: "I really like your old friends! A lot." Why might this be, I wondered?
Could it be because they politely sat and listened to his guitar playing and declared it amazing? Could it be J's hair-raising tales from university that made him sound like Vivien from The Young Ones? Could it be that they really are lovely? Whatever it was they should consider themselves honoured, and it made me realise that there's something fantastic about your children liking your friends and your friends liking your children and all sitting around together at the dinner table chatting and socialising together.
Perhaps part of the reason Middle One liked them was because he was able to see us - his crusty, boring old parents - as the young students we once were. Or perhaps it really was because J told him he drove a hearse when he was at uni and rigged up the electrics in their student house so they never paid a penny and walked around in t-shirts ALL THE TIME even in winter. In Norfolk. And that they drove motorbikes up and down the stairs. In fact his antics were so apocryphal that when he went back years later someone accused him of being 'that guy who slept in a coffin'.
And maybe it was also because his partner, the lovely M, talked about how she teaches children with SEN as a volunteer (despite being a qualified teacher) and does amateur dress-making and Tai Chi and is learning Chinese because she recently went to China and thought it was amazing and would love to live their one day. How could you NOT like such a person?
And maybe it was because Middle One recognised in our lovely French friend that he is a kind and gentle soul, very knowledgeable, who patiently listened to what the boys had to say and then invited them all to come to France and stay with him and his family anytime they wanted.
Socialising with your children included, I decided, is the best sort of socialising there is. To be honest we hardly want to go out without them anymore because we have a party at our house most nights already, one with all the best party ingredients on tap: usually some alcohol (for us only, I hasten to add), a nice kitchen to hang out in, lots of silly jokes and most importantly of all the best most charismatic, witty, lovely people in the whole wide world. Ours.
Love E x