My friend Joni took this photo of Kyle, her son, Brian, and my Jim. I stole it from Joni's facebook page because I just love it. (Hope that is OK with you, Joni!) Jim and Brian have been best buds literally since the moment we came to town. We moved here when the kids had 2 weeks left of school - Hannah was in kindergarten and Jim was in second grade. We were going to wait until the kids were done with school, but I'm so glad we didn't. Jim and Brian became friends and have been now for over 12 years, despite the fact that they went to the same school for only a year or two. Kyle and Jim became friends in high school, and if you are friends with Jim, you are friends with Brian. That's just the way things have been.
Same for Hannah. She met Marina and Chelsea right away. Marina's parents (our very good friends Dave and Marian) invited us over for pie one night and the rest is pretty much history. Their relationships have ebbed and flowed, but when Hannah could choose any friends for her "friends photo shoot" with the photographer that did her senior photos, she chose them.
Now that both of the kids are out of high school and moving on to other things, I'm even more thankful for the wonderful friends in their lives. The influence parents have is significant, but the people kids hang out with is a major deal. John and I telling the kids to "Make good choices!!" upon leaving the house has always been more or less a joke, because with the people they were with, we knew they would.