Friday, October 06, 2006
You've Got A Friend
You Are Understanding
Maybe you never realized how important it is to have a truly understanding friend until you had a child with special needs, and found so many friends to be unable to reach out and give you the support you needed. Whether they couldn't deal with your changed circumstances,
sympathize with your problems,
keep from hurtful judging, or invite your child to associate with theirs,
some of the people who were once important in your life may have fallen away because at the very deepest level,
they were unable to understand.
It's made you value those who are always there for you,
unconditionally, without agenda.
And it's helped you to be a much more understanding parent, family member and friend yourself.

Today was a really great day. I spent it with two of my best friends, one in person and one in spirit. Let me explain. I spent the first part of my day with my oldest friend,Terri. A few yard sales, some lunch a trip to Walmart. A lot of laughs. We became friends in 6th grade, that was 34 years ago for anyone that is counting.Since we teamed up at age 12, we have been through every monumental event that most all girls and women go through. First dates, first loves, first jobs,first drink and first smoke. Our first vacation without our parents after graduation and more mistakes, things we want to forget and lots of I told you so's through the years. Ok, Decades. Marriages, one and only one for me and 3 for her. 2 divorces also for her. The births of her 3 children and the adoptions of my two. Deaths of a parent.We have gone through times where we were inseparable and months of being out of touch. Her children are now 13, 23 and 25 and she has a 4 year old granddaughter. My two are 5 and 7. Our worlds did spin in different directions at times but nothing could break or weaken our bond. We laugh that our mid life crisis was me buying a minivan at the same time she was buying a convertible. I can count on one hand my best friends.As a group they fulfill all my needs as a circle of confidants, and support and comrades. My Mom, my sister, my niece by marriage, Terri and the other friend I spent some time with via long distance today, Christine.
Each afternoon, I get my mail and sit on the bench we placed near the street in our yard and wait on my son's bus to arrive and then my daughter's. I sit and read my mail and wonder what kind of day my children had. Really, what kind of day my son had, my daughter seems to always have a good day.This afternoon I was so happy,estatic really, to get a letter from my other best friend. She lives in New Jersey and although our friendship is newer when compared to the others, it is probably the most important in many ways. She is a Portuguese New Jersey native and I am a born and raised southern belle. At first impressions, we couldn't be more different. Below the surface , we are twin daughter's of different mothers, souls leading parallel lives.
We get each other's lives like no one else. I absolutely could not imagine my journey as an adoptive mother and as a mother of a special child without her. Like me, she built her family through adoption. We met in Russia during our first adoptions. We lived together, in close quarters(the compound) for two weeks in a foreign country becoming first time parents in a way none of our other friends ever had. Our friendship was cemented in a moment of our lives that only we can understand. We each adopted infant sons close in age and each have had some issues to overcome. With her I can laugh, cry and be honest in a way that I can't with any other mother I know. Together we had to rearrange certain dreams we had and build new ones.I could totally get her son's need for a pink balloon and she get's my son's need to have his fingers on alert close to his ears at all times. We send odd pictures of our kids to each other and write funny captions on the back that no one else would catch the humor in. As much a I believe that God arranged the steps to our children, I also feel in my heart he also crossed our paths and linked us together. She is as true a gift and blessing of adoption as my children were. I hope that she knows how very much she means to me.Her husband too. He is so much like my husband in nature and thought and how he feels as a father and how he loves being a father through adoption and that forges our bond even more. I am not sure if it was fate or more of God's handiwork that we both adopted a second time from Russia around the same time. She another little boy and us, a daughter. And the two second children rocked both of our worlds in ways we had never dreamed. They were as different than there older sibling as they could be, and her Sean and my Macy are amazingly alike in personality. This made very clear when met at the beach for a week long vacation.Another link in our friendship chain forged by each of us being mothers of second children for which everything came so easily and quickly as compared to our first sons. Just a few months ago they welcomed a baby girl from China into their family and we anxiously awaited each and every step with them from a far for the 18 months it took for this adoption journey to be completed. And I am impatiently awaiting for my first chance to see her in the flesh. She is the cutest thing. I look forward in the years to come ,us sharing the journey of raising daughters, which is a whole nother ballgame.
Having this one friend in my life and knowing she will be there for the rest of my life is priceless and makes my journey as a mother feel much more enriched and even easier.
I have never been one to think I needed an entourage in my life. If you have one, then that is great.I have never needed a posse or travel in a pack. I havenever had the time to sustain that many at once. I would rather devote more quantity and quality to a few. Having a small number of very close friends is more important and special to me than 20 sorta close ones. Maybe that is why with my children that I put more effort into nurturing individual friendships for them rather than the big team , attend every party and every activity mindset. I don't count how many party invites they get(too many as it is ) or think they need tobe entertained by a plethera of extracurricular's. I think its great that my two spenda lot of time playing together and mostly surround by family.
I hope that they willlook back on their childhoods and have had many varied and fun experiences, family momentss too numerous to count and have built a few very close and long term friendships. I hope as adults they each have at least one friend still in their circle with whom they can reminisce about "back in the day" and another friend that shares current common interests, goals and priorities. Of course I hope that they are also as blessed as I have been in finding a mate, if your as lucky as me, that is your number one fan and best friend. I just realized that this is also something I have in common with my closest peeps. We are all in marriages with spouses who are are soul mates and our best confidants and who encourage our closeness with each other.
A lot of adoptive parents find themselves to suddenly not having a close friend who understands and gets adoption and all that it entails. They may not understand why you are doing it, who you chose it and how you can feel like no parent on earth could ever have loved a child more than you love this one born of your heart and your soul and not your body. They may not get the concerns and parenting needs of a newly adopted child or our seemingly obsessiveness at times to get it right. Or how we are always on the lookout for some adoptive issue or residual something or other to surface.
You will need that person.
We are out there, find us.
Support groups, web groups, message boards, a friend of a friend.
It will be a gift you give yourself and your child.
We all need at least one solitary person who gets your past but more important , you need one somebody that gets your present and hopefully they will also get your future.
And you will be that someone for them.
Because when you find understanding and compassion in someone else, then those qualities begin to flourish in yourself.
I hope for Christine... and Terri and Kerrie and Beth that I also rise to the occasion for them.
I hope for all Moms, that they are not going through this journey alone,
Whether you find that ear and shoulder in a childhood friend,
or in a newer ally.
Or in an alter ego connection through cyber space.
Reach out.
Someone will be there.
No man, or woman is an island.
Or should be. And it doesn't have to be a village, just one person that you can reveal your deepest thoughts, unfounded fears, future expectations and humorous insights and even mundane observations.
Not just someone who hears you, but someone who really listens.
When you do , then nurture that friendship, make time for it, feed and water it.
It helps me be a better mom , a better wife, a better woman.
A happier and more content member of the Human Race.
and remember You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle a
rainy holiday
lost luggage
and a flat tire.
And to get the full value of joy,
you must have somebody to divide it with.
And when me soul is having a rainy day, just a note from Chris or hearing her voice on the phone can
lighten my load and make the sunshine all week.
Gives new meaning to Fair Weather Friend.


Blogger MMrussianadoption said...

If your friends read your blog, they will know just how much you appreciate them and care. It came through in your writing. That was a beautiful ode to your close friends. I hope I am lucky enough to meet someone I connect with when my husband and I go to Russia.

I found your blog today. This is a great post. I have found myself valuing my friends here lately. I am a mom of three, my third is a special needs baby. The world has definately been flipped upside down. My friends are pulling me through, they are concreting my feet back to the ground. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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