Yes, until this time in my life, I believed that my parents were put on God's earth to serve my every need and make me endlessly joyful. Of course that didn't always happen, but it was their job, I thought. Somewhere in this blissful ignorance my parents decided to have a cookout.
Most of you are probably thinking, "what's the big deal, sister?" Our own children are 4 and 6 and have sat through countless cookouts with friends and family. But for some reason, be it the distance we lived from our church (those 13 miles were a vast wilderness to forge for the city folk), or my parent's arduous working hours, or a host of other, I-don't-know-so-I'll-come-up-with-some-excuse/reason, it is my perception that my parents were not social and did not have friends. My 7 year old brain computed that as completely normal. We 3 children were friends enough for them, I guessed.
This all changed when they announced we were having a cookout with some friends from church. Not attending a cookout, but having one. This was a new experience for me. What would this look like? Would I know who these "friends" even were?
Then the next big shock came: they were going to invite the Andersons. Wait. Did you say the Andersons? Like the parents of the boy in my class? You know them??? Once I recovered from the shock of finding out that my parent's social group blended into my own social group, I was able to get excited that kids my age would be coming over to play, even if they only had boys.
The cookout went splendidly, as I recall. I know there was more than one family there, but I only remember all of us kids playing in the backyard tree until after dark (which is one of the best things about your parents having friends over, I discovered, they let you play way past your normal bedtime).
It was a defining moment for me, to consider my parents as social beings who desired to connect with their peers as much as I did. Maybe Mom and Dad didn't just exist to serve me . . . no, that can't be right. I think I'll stick to my original conclusion.