This past weekend, we went on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge at Niagara Falls. It’s a big indoor waterpark resort that has lots of different water features, slides and pools to keep us entertained for a couple of hours each day. The place also has an arcade, craft room, and Magic Quest, that my daughter E1 absolutely loves. But it wasn’t just any regular family weekend to this resort. We went as part of a large group of 20 rooms, all organized by our friend F, so that we could take advantage of a great group rate.
Not content with this organizational feat, F also went on to plan a group kids’ birthday party gathering in one of the resort meeting rooms. This pizza and cake party not only celebrated her two children’s birthdays, but all the kids who had birthdays in January and February. She made and brought in decorations for the room, and arts and crafts activities for the kids. F even made up loot bags for each child who was going to attend the birthday party, the thoughtful contents individualized by age and interests. And of course, there is the cleanup afterwards, the unsexy part of any party. It is readily apparent to me (and everyone else) how much planning and work went into this party, while the rest of us just had to show up to enjoy.
So why on earth would F volunteer her time, energy and mental space to do all this work for other people? Here’s my hypothesis: You know how, in any group of friends that have been together for any decent amount of time, there is typically that one friend (or two) that is the social glue of the group? The one whose efforts to stay in touch and bring people together keep the group vibrant? F is the social glue of our group, mainly made up of a circle of friends forged in our university years.
For example, beyond having a celebration for the kids, the party also served another important purpose. Since we all have young families, F knew it would be very difficult to get to spend time with everyone within the large resort. A dedicated event time and place would then facilitate the ability for the adults to socialize and catch up, while the kids are occupied in a constrained area that does not require constant vigilance for fear of drowning.
I know that with our young family, our energy is fragmented between parenting our kids, progressing in our careers, and the relationship between me and T. It’s so easy to develop a myopia and conserve your energy to focus on experiencing life within our immediate family unit. So thank you F, for facilitating these group events for us to create new shared memories together. These new shared experiences help keep our community of friends strong, instead of being based on the fading memories of experiences shared in university and our single years. In the ensuing years after graduation, her leadership has influenced the rest of us to do our part and organize group events ourselves. But, I bet if you ask any one of us, we would all point to F as the hub in our social wheel.
So a huge thank you, F. Thank you for organizing a superb weekend of fun, but especially THANK YOU for giving your energy to being the social super-glue that continues to hold our community of friends together. I am lucky and honoured to have you as my friend.