Weekend of Friends

4:35 PM

Many many years ago, in a town about 2 1/2 hours from where I was busy being a little girl, there lived a little boy named Kyle. He was a cute, skinny little thing with large teeth, large brown eyes and at times, a mullet. Although we'll let that slide. I had quite a few atrocious moments myself with enormous froggy glasses, 80's bangs, and some pretty awful taste in clothing...

While this little boy was busy building BMX bike ramps, exploring the creek behind his house, playing baseball, skinning his knees, scoffing at girls, and generally getting into mischief, he wasn't doing it alone. He had the unique opportunity to experience boyhood with several other like-minded little rascals. These boys formed a bond unlike any bond I've ever seen among boys.

This bond lasted through elementary school, junior high, high school, college and continues to this day.

They call themselves the Fellas. The exact roster of the Fellas varies depending on whom you ask. Some of the guys are better at keeping in touch than others, and as is typical among friendships, there are some who are probably closer to each other than others.

Greg, Nathan, Patrick, Chad, Kyle, Jason and Jay

These boys tormented their teachers all through school and from what I can tell, performed legendary feats of "bravery/stupidity" while in high school (I rue the day my children hear all the things their Daddy got away with). They spent summers on the lakes together, broke their fair share of hearts, wrestled together, teased each other, tormented each other's siblings, gave their parents grey hairs. But they also all shared one amazing thing: a strong, unwavering faith in the Lord. These boys, for all their gritty guy-ness, never considered a life apart from God. And some of them had good reason to run from the straight and narrow! Two are now even pastors!

I was introduced to these guys my freshman year of college. It was quite an experience to head up to the UofA for my freshman orientation and not only meet the boy I would fall in love with and marry, but about 8 other guys who "completed the set." Kyle came with friends, to say the least!

Kyle was the first among the Fellas to really fall for a girl, although not the first to do something about it. It was actually painful for them to release each other to the girls they would fall in love with and later, marry. It's as though the introduction of a girl and what she meant to them threatened and changed the relationship they'd always had. How could this girl meet a need the Fellas couldn't meet? Well, she just did. In that inexplicable way that girls and boys find their other half in each other and must be together, turning from all familiar. So there was a definite struggle to readjust to the Fellas plus Girlfriends.

Becky and Ashley

Over time, many of those Girlfriends became Fella Wives. Becky and Greg were the first. Patrick and Karen followed, then Kyle and I, then Jason and Autumn, Chad and Kim, Nathan and Zuleka, Jason and Jennifer, Jay and Lindsey and most recently, this past weekend, Jay and Sarah.

Over the past 15 years, these guys have become men with various degrees, in-laws, car payments, careers, mortgages, and children. It is absolutely incredible to witness the transformation of our lives since we all started out together as college babies. We emerged, diploma-in-hand, dewy-eyed and optimistic with huge dreams for our futures together. We couldn't imagine where we'd end up. We couldn't foresee the struggles some of us would face in various forms or the ways we would pull together and triumph over those struggles. We wouldn't have been able to even DREAM of the ways God had planned to change us, break us and re-make us. We couldn't have predicted how valuable our friendships would be to us through the years. It has been a beautiful process, not without pain and suffering, but rich with love, true friendship and encouragement.

This past weekend, the first time since we graduated from college, just about everyone was able to gather together for the wedding of Jay and Sarah. It was a good excuse to spend time together, let our kids play with each other and reconnect.

Ziva, Mia holding Eden, Gavin, Kate, Brooklyn, August, EJ holding Nora and Ashlyn (Lauren refused to be photographed)

The Fellas and the Fella-Wives have now started the next phase...the Fella Kids. It is humbling to see the legacy we now are leaving behind with our babies and little ones. What a blessing. What a treasure. What a legacy.

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3 comments

  1. I love this post,Ashley!! I love that our husbands have been friends for so long, and because of their friendship I have you!!!! I love you!! I pray that our kids will have lasting friendships like this!

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  2. Great post. We miss you all already. And judging from the picture of the kids (where the girls greatly outnumber the boys) I would say the Fellas got just what they deserved (Heaven help us).
    -Jason

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  3. I will be forever grateful that you introduced me to one fella in particular. I am a proud Fella wife and so thankful that Chad and I have you all as as closest friends.

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