When I was in college, I was very involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Every Thursday after our "large group" meeting, we'd gather at the staff worker's house to hang out and play games. My favorite was a lightening-fast card game called Nertz. I often miss those days when friendships came easily and there was plenty of time for just one more game.
On Saturday evening we bundled the kids into the minivan and gathered at that very same staff worker's house to fellowship with some of those same college friends. There were five married couples and nine small children present. And while it was fun to catch-up with our friends between changing diapers and supervising squabbles, we left just before eight-thirty when it became apparent that our children just couldn't stay awake AND be happy.
On Tuesday evening two couples from our church gathered in our home for Bible study. One of these couples has no children, and the other is expecting their first child. We had a babysitter for our children during Bible study, then put them to bed when it concluded at 8pm. We then proceeded to play an old game with new friends - Nertz. Boy, was it ever fun!
And while building friendships does take more effort in this season of raising small children, it is well worth it. Because you just can't beat a good game of Nertz.