Feeling Grateful for Friends

What is a friend? I will tell you. It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself.” ~Frank Crane

As a mother of children with special needs it became obvious to me early on that we were losing friends quickly. As our children got older isolation became a fact of life.  Our older children grew up and went off on their own, and our involvement in the schools, sports, and other activities they were involved in dried up, along with the friendships that came with those things. The empty nest syndrome others talk about is not going to happen in our home, and I began to wonder if I’d ever find a way to meet new friends. I am always grateful to those that have stuck with us through the years! But, I long ago gave up the notion of finding a friend who “got me”, accepted me with all my quirks, faults, and things the rest of the world judged as strange. I’ve been criticized and questioned for the things I do, such as my motives for adopting kids with special needs, having a larger than average family, and numerous other “stuff”. I’ve heard the whispers, gossip and bold remarks made directly to me about my unwillingness to follow what is popular, and listening to my heart even when it seems to make no sense. I’ve been told the things I do are stupid (yes, people actually say those things!). I have always related to Winona Ryder’s character in the movie Beetlejuice who casually announces, “I, myself, am strange and unusual.” I actually like that about me.

Recently I’ve been blessed with a great new friend. She’s not part of the club (you know, the one that you become a member of if you have “those” kind of kids). She didn’t really have any idea what my world was like, but never judged me, and best of all tried to get to know my family and our special needs. She is also a caregiver by nature, although not in the same sense of the word. She is compassionate and kind, warm and caring, but real and human, fun and funny, with quirks of her own (and will admit it). This is the kind of friend I’ve only read about; the one who doesn’t care if you’re fat or thin, what you’re wearing, whether or not you have makeup on, a smile on your face, or your hair pulled up on top of your head in a quickly-thrown-together-hectic-morning-sort-of-way (sorry, I went hyphen crazy for a minute). Perhaps it took me fifty-three years to be comfortable enough with me to spend time with someone so similar, yet, thankfully,  so different. It’s awesome to find someone who I feel so completely comfortable with that I can truly be myself with no fear of judgment. You know who you are, and I want you to know I’m blessed by our friendship. You make the world a better place. Thanks for sharing all the joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, support and encouragement, and all that makes a friend worth having!

Just Trying to Express with gratitude, Pam

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