Thursday, September 26, 2013


I think as parents we all have a theme so to say.  Something that perhaps was lacking in our childhood, or something we really loved about it.  Either way it is an overwhelming force that drives our parenting skills.  I have seen it with friends- where they spend hours of time and energy on athletics and coaching, watching, participating, encouraging their child to do well.  Others are the same way with music; art; and of course academics.  I thought mine would be the latter.  Academics was encouraged in our house growing up; more than anything else; you were expected to do well and try your best.  It wasn't shoved down our throats or anything, but it was known.  I thought I would follow along with exposing my children to a variety of interests and activities but in the end, academia would take center stage.  Then life hits.  Two children with special needs will take a genius IQ right out of you.  (Not that I have one!)  But, really it makes you re-think what is success?  What is it that I want for my kids?  Most people will blurt out thoughtlessly: happy and healthy.  Well of course.  But, really, what does that mean, happiness. 

I think I finally have my theme figured out.  It all comes down to connections.  At the end of the day, a life filled with education and world travel- alone- means little.  A life filled with riches and material items are fruitless and empty without someone to share it with.  A life filled with peace and tranquility is simply boring without any social interaction.  At the end of the day, that is the most important thing.  How to be a good friend and maintain healthy, happy relationships.

I can't say I am a master at this, it takes effort.  Thinking and doing things that don't necessarily come naturally to me.  I am opinionated and blurt many things out without thinking.  I speak in generalizations and harsh tones often.  I am high maintenance and like to eat and go to certain places.  I mean- don't you want to be friends with me?  That's it.  That's my point.  I have had to learn how to compromise, how to extend myself past my own crap to get to the best part of a friendship.  It ain't easy.  And still I am learning, I am sure I will forever.  And so, that's what I have been talking to my kids about.  That is what our focus is here at home.  Have you been kind?  Is that a nice thing to say?  Would you want a friend like you?  Who did you play with at school today?  Did you share?  Did you let other people make choices and help them feel important?

Graham came home last year off the bus and this was our conversation.

G: Patrick hates me.
M: Graham we don't say that word.
G:  I know, but he does.
M: Why would you say that.
G: Because he doesn't want to sit with me on the bus unless no one else is around.
M: (heart breaking) Well that is his choice.  What is your choice?
G:  To keep trying to sit with him.
M: Well do you want a friend that only likes you when no one else is around? 
G:  No
M:  Do you think Patrick is trying to be mean or simply wants to play and sit with someone else? So what could you do?
G:  Sit with Luke; that's what I have been doing; but I want to sit with Patrick
M: So you only like Luke when Patrick won't sit with you?
G:  Yeah
M:  How do you think that makes Luke feel?

It's tough this friendship business.  We have all been there, people we click with more naturally that we would rather be with or sit with on the bus.  What is the right thing.  To just sit with someone if no one else is around?  To sit with someone you don't really like all that much, but at least they always like you?  Really though, it happens in adulthood.  I have found what I have learned is it's about liking and loving the people you are with in that moment.  Appreciating them for who they are right there.  I can't tell you how many times I have been sat next to someone in a large group and I sigh internally and think "oh great".  But, lately I have been learning what feels good to me isn't having the best conversation- it's finding a common ground and interest with that person anyway.  It doesn't always work out, but it works better, if I am not thinking about what fun I could be having down on the other end of the table.  It's different.  But it's still fun.  I want them to learn to cherish all of their friendships and connections.  That all the effort in life shouldn't go to just pleasing yourself or money or success or hockey.  But, in fact one thing you will never look back and regret is forming a relationship and connection to someone else. 

I don't know how to teach that in everyday ways.  I don't know how to ingrain that into their brains.  I only can show them through my efforts, that being vulnerable is worth it.  That taking a chance and talking to someone you don't think is "cool" sometimes turns out to be- way cool.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes people reject you.  They look at you like a freak and don't want to take the time to know you.  Sometimes people simply don't click and get along and that's fine too.  It doesn't make them bad or mean.  It also doesn't make you bad or mean.  It just simply means it's time to move forward to a new relationship. 

All I know is never in my life have I felt more supported and enveloped in love and friends have everything to do with it.  It is pretty spectacular to know that they love me for me.  Not for only parts of me.  Not that they can't get irritated with me.  Not that we don't see things differently sometimes.  Not that we aren't worlds apart in some arenas of life.  But, still we connect.  We find interests, common bonds, emotions and connect.  I love the diversity of my friends.  I am proud that I have some with chickens and goats; some living in high rises; some with 5 kids; some with none; some married; some divorced; republicans; democrats; atheists; Catholics.  You name it- they stretch a long divide.  I love them and am so grateful they stretch to reach me too.  They say you are the 5 people you spend the most time with.  It's important this friendship business.


  1. I, for one cannot wait to see you. Silly me, I would love to see the stuff that is happening...\

  2. Well said, Grace. I think you are an amazing friend who always manages to make me laugh...when we actually stop talking long enough to breathe! :) I think our lives are enriched by the differences in the people we choose to surround ourselves with.


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