They aren't always in my life at the same time. Some I don't see for years, yet when we see each other again it's like I just saw them yesterday. There are times I need some friends more than others. There are times I don't want my friends around at all.
Friendship is very important to me. I had a lot of neighborhood friends when I was a kid, and I have great memories of playing flashlight tag and hide-and-seek using our bikes and the entire neighborhood to hide in. I had a best friend, Denise, and had many sleep-overs with her until about 8th grade. After that, I had to struggle to keep friends, and friends were always scrutinized by my step-father. I didn't get to see friends more often than at school or orchestra events. I became very isolated. My senior year of high school I could finally interact as a normal kid again, and one of the high points was having a year-end Orchestra party at my house. From then on out I couldn't have enough friends!
Bret takes friendship a little differently than I do. Where I can embrace many levels of friendship, he likes a small, intimate circle of friends. Naturally that is what makes us clash when I'm ready to throw a big party and he'd rather have no more than 5. Even so, he knows I have a higher social need than he does, and I get my time out with my friends when I need it.
With my children, friendship has been interesting. We live in a time where people from many different parts of the valley can go to the same school. It makes maintaining friendships a little more work, since coordinating times and driving is involved, rather than just going up the block or next door to a friend's (though I'm very lucky that Sam has one of her BF's right next door!). The internet helps too, now with all the social media tools out there friendships can stay strong even when someone moves away or changes schools. Sam also keeps in touch with a friend that moved to Colorado this past year, mostly via Skype. It takes work, but the extra "work" is totally worth it. I think it will help them maintain their friendships even longer.
Even when new friends are made, the old ones will never fade away. It's a great time to be a friend!