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Celebrate Friendship Day

How will you celebrate National Friendship Day? It’s Sunday, August 6th and I didn’t know it exists until recently. There’s an official day for almost everything and most I ignore, but friends should be celebrated.

The founder of Hallmark originated a day to honor and appreciate friends in 1919, but it really didn’t catch on. In 1935, the United States Congress proclaimed the first Sunday of August as National Friendship Day. It isn’t known exactly why, but as World War I came to an end there was a need for friendship among countries and people.

In 2011, the UN General Assembly proclaimed an International Day of Friendship with the idea that friendships between people, countries, and cultures can inspire peace efforts and after the UN proclamation many countries adopted Friendship Days. The basic idea of all counties is the same: a day to acknowledge friends’ contributions to your life and to cherish the people you love.

Neither Hallmark nor proclamations are needed to convince me the importance of friends. As a young teen, I learned to appreciate friends when my parents often welcomed my girlfriends for overnight slumber parties. Later, I depended on college friends to get through late night study sessions and unravel tangled emotions.

Neighborhood friends’ visits and impromptu lunch dates carried me through long days of caring for my babies and toddlers. When Daughter and Son played sports and attended scout meetings, my friends and I carpooled. Fellow teacher and writing friends encouraged me when I wanted to throw away red pens and keyboards. All along life, friends have kept me going and growing.

Quotes I’ve heard are true. Friends ‘do’ without waiting to be asked. A true friend knows your faults and loves you anyway. A real friend walks in when others walk away. A friend is a gift you give yourself.

Friends sat beside me while I fretted in hospital waiting rooms. They showed up at my front door with hugs and food when my parents passed away. They said, “I’m on my way,” when I called for help. They stood beside me even when I messed up.

And I’ve heard that friends know us better than family and friends are the family we choose. Friends are family? Yes, according to Kathryn.

I commented to Kathryn that she had a large group of friends from different walks of life and she responded, “Yes, I have a big framily.”  Framily? Did she misunderstand what I said? Did I hear her correctly? Then I realized framily combines friend and family.

“That’s a perfect word,” I said. Friends who are closer than family. Friends who know more about us than family. Friends who shoulder heartache when family stumbles.  Although the word framily was first used in 2006, the concept has been around for a long time. Remember the 1990’s television show “Friends” about six people who resembled a family?

National Friendship Day. A day to honor people you love. People who are your framily.

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