Barbeque, beers, wiffleball and tossing around the pig skin.

Many of my college friends have gotten together for several years to enjoy one another’s company at Colt State Park – a gorgeous *free* state park by the bay.

But this year, it was a little different.
Or, should I say, a tiny different.

This year, we brought a baby.

We still ate delicious food, drank summertime ales, and the guys tossed around the football. I took a walk by the water with a friend, and admired all of the other groups of people, mainly large families, who decided to picnic at the park that day.

It made me a little jealous, to see large family reunions, of forty or more. To hear the laughter and to see all of the kids running around.  For one reason or another, my family isn’t like that.  We don’t have annual reunions, parents don’t call each other up and arrange the list of who-will-bring-what, and cousins aren’t running around playing with one another.  Families like that are foreign to me, even though it is something I’ve longed for my entire life.

But as my friend and I were walking back up from the water, I looked at our site. It hit me that I do have a family like that. A family of friends.

Our friends get together all the time, and plan events like this each year. We coordinate what items we will be bringing with one another.  And best of all, our kids (some of the furry variety) were playing with one another.

There was laughter, kind advice shared among the new parents, lots of love, and no judgement.  The elementary aged kids put on performances, the dogs were taken on walks, and the babies enjoyed being held by an endless supply of friends.   We couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous weather or better company.

A friend and I wore the same dress  – oops!

This year’s annual BBQ was a little different, because I realized that my friends are my family, and I’ve been having the annual reunions I’ve craved for all along.

Do you have any traditions with you family of friends?