Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friendships

I love my friends. I have worked very hard over the years to maintain and grow my friendships with those I felt closest to. And while along the way, I sometimes had high expectations from my friends...maybe even too high of expectations...I always tried to be the kind of friend that I wanted in return. However, I'm a little nervous right now. Even a little insecure. I feel like I'm on the cusp of "everything is about to change." When Charles and I first got the news of Elijah's extra chromosome, we looked at each other and said, "Well, our lives are going to be very different now." Mostly, I think that was the fear talking. We imagined a life without vacations, without travel. I imagined having to give up my event business that I love and never getting to go back. Now that I have met a good handful of Moms of children with Ds, I am confident (or as confident as I can be right now) that someday I can put time and effort into my business, even if I am temporarily slowing down to adjust to the unknowns in life. The Moms I've met have a variety of lifestyles, and many of them seem to include fulfilling careers. I can see a future for my career, but I'm worried a little when it comes to my friendships. My friends have rich, fulfilling, successful lives- they are awesome and I am grateful for each and every one and grateful for their roles in my life. But, I also see my near future filled with therapy sessions for Elijah, work, school for Christian, and PAPERWORK. Luckily, the state offers great programs to help children with special needs (even though more programs and jobs for these programs are being cut as I type.) If these programs didn't exist, we wouldn't stand a chance of giving our son everything he'll need. We are a family of people who followed their passions in life, which in our case has not produced much wealth in the pocketbook, but an abundance of wealth in the heart. In order to get funding and approval for these programs, there is also an abundance of paperwork. (Shall we say that the government has a "passion for paperwork"?) I am filling out one of the many applications that will be necessary. This application is for the Regional Center, which provides early intervention programs and therapy for children who have a condition that delays development. This application is 14 pages long. Fourteen pages. So, here is where my friendship insecurities make sense: We all already have such busy lives. Will the fact that I have a life that my current friends don't relate to make a difference? Will the fact that our kids grow up and go to different schools (where they and their parents make new friends,) put a wedge between us? What about my friends who don't have kids...who already probably feel like our lives are going down different paths and now this path is even further from what they know? As it is, I have to put time for friends on the calendar or they get scheduled right out. What happens when my days become even fuller with the responsibilities of raising two boys- one with special needs? Will I be able to make the same effort? Will some of my friendships fall by the wayside as a result?

I have seen a morphing effect of friendships in my life, and it has mostly gone for the good. I've grown up and grown into the friendships I have now. And I have bonds now that are stronger than they ever were in my childhood, my teens or my twenties. So, I should trust the way they will go now, but change isn't always easy. This has really been on my mind lately and I needed to get it out. I've been meeting some cool people online because of the commonality of our children having Ds. I'm excited by the new people who I relate to in so many ways. It is a huge relief to talk or write and hear your own feelings about the situation reflected back in someone else. I cry every time I hear or read these complicated feelings I have, being reflected back by someone else. It is a huge relief to feel like someone else truly understands. As wonderful as that is, will that affect and change the friendships I have now?...This post is really just rhetorical, because I can't and won't know the answers yet. So... if I were me now talking to the younger me about friendships, I would probably say this: "Who your friends are and the role they have in your life will change throughout the years. But, remember the saying that "some friendships are meant for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime."

I'm a little nervous about it all, but you know what? If the "reason" is just for cocktails, then I'm game...even if I do have to schedule it in, cancel twice and reschedule once.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hey Jen,

I wonder about how/if my friendships will change when I start teaching. Will I have less time and less in common for/with the stay at homes I have come to love? I think any transition brings anxiety for the unknown and I would think a ds baby certainly qualifies as an unknown. Any baby brings on unknowns! I think your previous blog as well as this one are just the tip of the iceberg of the new challanges headed your way. Opps? Should I be more comforting? Jen, your natural talents for making people feel welcome and included and comfortable because of that big ol soulful heart of yours, ensures that even if you and I have less time for everyone you or me want to include, we will all always be friends in our hearts. We shared an amazing time together, being first time Moms. Sharing the unbelievable love, challanges, and discoveries being a first time Mom or second time Mom will be engraved in our hearts forever.

xo

L

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