I bet you’ve heard the quote, “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold.”


I can’t really divide my friends into silver or gold status. I’d say they’re all platinum.

Our family has been ridiculously, crazily, super-spoiled with our new friends in Athens. They love us well and make us laugh. Hopefully we do the same for them. That’s kind of the essence of friendship.

A few days ago, I was reminded of the importance of old friends through a spontaneous act of kindness.

The Janssens lived right next door to us in Fargo. Grill outs, Super Bowl parties, dance recitals, we spent countless hours and several years doing life together. When we moved in, Jordan was a preschooler, Charlie was a toddler, and Ben wasn’t even a twinkle in our eyes.

Their son Alex, who can now drive a car, was still in elementary school. Their daughter, Sofia, who is a year younger than Jordan and getting ready to go to middle school, still took naps every afternoon.

I never realized how formative and meaningful those years were for my children, until Tuesday. The Janssens were road-tripping from Fargo to Washington, D.C. (more than a 20 hour drive!) when they texted me. “We’re passing through Columbus. Can we stop for a quick visit?”

I was sorry to bear the bad news that we actually live 90 minutes away from Columbus.

“No problem. We’re happy to detour.”

Seriously? They were willing to tack an extra three hours onto their trip to see us?

Stunned, I texted my husband to light up the grill for an impromptu party. Then I told the kids we were having company. Jordan and Charlie positively squealed with delight. Ben was more reserved. “Who are the Janssens?” Apparently, he had forgotten one of his taller moments from the day we moved away two years prior.


Ben and Alex in 2014

That’s okay because he was quickly brought up to speed by his big kids who were happy to recount the good old days and remind him all about our Fargo friends. He and Alex replicated their last photo in our new driveway.


Ben and Alex in 2016






Jordan and Sofia played dolls under a tree in the front yard, because that’s what they used to do in Fargo. Never mind that neither of them have played with dolls in at least 2 years.



In the end, we were all having so much fun that the Janssens cancelled their hotel reservation in Maryland and stayed the night. The boys all slept in Charlie’s room and the girls had a slumber party on Jordan’s floor.

The next morning, I had 5 delightfully exhausted faces on my living room couch. IMG_5836

By 9am, the Janssens were packed up and on the road. And then ten minutes later, they were back. I’d like to say it was because they missed us, but I’m pretty sure it was because Alex had forgotten his iPad.

Kindness comes in lots of forms. Buying coffee for the next guy in line, watching a friend’s kids, or driving three hours out of your way just to say hi.

We haven’t been able to make it back to Fargo, so the Janssens brought Fargo to us. I am so grateful for this special act of kindness and the reminder to hold on tight to old friends, who are indeed as good as gold.