Once you've been friends with someone for 10 or 15 or 20 years, the friendship develops concentric circles, like a tree. You share a common history from many distinct stages of your life, and if you're very lucky, new histories emerge and you retain the richness of the connection you've shared over the years, while layering new memories over the old.
I think of this often when I get to spend time with some old friends who I don't see all that often, as Mr. Fraulein and I were able to do this weekend. The couple who came to see us, bringing their 3- and almost-7-year-old girls in tow, have been part of my life since before they were even a couple. Their relationship began and strengthened during pool parties in my parents' backyard in the 90s. We shared college connections and friend-of-co-worker connections. Other friends came into and out of the group over the years. People broke up; others got married and had kids. The circles broke apart, then re-formed.
And here we were all these many years and crises and joys later, three kids giggling and singing and refusing to go to sleep in the back bedroom, howling with laughter over things that happened a million lifetimes ago.
Writing new histories. Adding new circles.