Friendships and this special needs Mama. When I first became a special needs mom, one of my friends, one that I was sure I would grow old with, simply wasn’t able to understand why I couldn’t just ‘let Parker go.’ In her defense, she truly believed that Parker returning back from where he had just come was the kindest decision I could make.
The friendship slowly fell apart.
I don’t even remember what the final deciding factor was, or even if there was one. I was so involved in trying to keep a world together that only wanted to fly apart. And let’s face it, I wasn’t the greatest of friend material during that time. To say that I lost myself would be a grand understatement.
I didn’t want people to know that Parker’s pulmonary hypertension was so high it was believed he would die. I didn’t want people to think me weak. I didn’t want people’s pity. I wanted their prayers and for them to see the beauty of this new little spirit.
Luckily there are several families near us that have kids with Ds. One of Reed’s best friends welcomed their son with Ds about 21 years ago. Another friend and neighbor welcome their son with Ds about 8 years before Parker joined us. We had support in real life and online.
Little bit by little bit, as I’ve become more comfortable in living life with our Brave Hero, I’ve allowed myself to open up (HARD for me, believe it or not) and allow new friends in to my life.
I know it’s hard to believe, but I am the Original Introvert. I am quite happy doing things by myself. I love being with my family and trust me, the commotion that comes with these guys is enough to put a girl on sensory overload in about 20 minutes flat.
I’ve made some great friends. I am truly thankful for them. Interestingly though, some of the friends I consider closest to my heart I’ve never even met. You might be wondering how that could happen. The best way I have to describe it is to relate it to the olden (heh) days when people would have pen pals they would faithfully keep in touch with for years without ever once meeting.
Some of these friends I’ve made through this blog. Others from the general Down syndrome community. And even one, through an article done on Parker in our local newspaper. This friend tells me that she was sitting in her Stake President’s office, read the article and knew she needed to meet Parker and while she was there, she might as well meet his Mama too.
Each one of these friends, both near and far, bring to me something unique. Strength. Faith. Unconditional love. A positive outlook. A shoulder to shed my fears on. Trust. Support. A new perspective. The knowledge that even if I screw up, there will still always be someone I can call friend.
I work to try and be that kind of friend in return. I don’t always succeed. I sometimes get so caught up in the whirlwind of keeping the bodies and souls of this family together that the sun has set and I have yet to do any good in the world that day.
I’m determined to be a better friend.
As I’m working to get my act together, I want to say thank you. You know who you are. Those that leave an uplifting comment. Send an email with a favorite scripture or quote. Nag on me until I go to the doctor and have every test in the history of man performed on me. (BTW, everything came back beautifully!) Share your wisdom with me. Believe in Parker and love him as we do. And offer up your faith when mine is lacking.
I want you to know the difference you make in my life each and every day.
Do you have a hard time making friends? Have you bonded with others who have children with special needs? Have you lost friendships since your child with special needs was born?