Sunday, December 4

FRIENDS

Friends. First Friends. Old friends. New Friends. Forever Friends.

I moved A LOT when I was young. Until the 8th grade, my family moved every single year, causing me to also change schools. I find it interesting how this one aspect of my childhood molded me as the friend I am to others. I suppose having to make new friends (leaving others behind) brought me to be somewhat of a social butterfly ~ LOTS of acquaintances. And I enjoyed that sense of knowing others and the hello's, how are yous, all the way through my own children's schooling and their activities. I felt like I belonged. In a world of no computers and cell phones (beginning days) it was nice to feel like you were part of the community. But, as our children left the sports and Youth Group behind to go off to college and become adults, I felt the emptiness creep in. I began to long for the closeness of "Best friends" or at least the relationship where two people shared their deepest sorrows and enjoyed each other's joyous moments. Something I did not get to experience young.

High School Friends
My first best friend was a girl I met in the 8th grade. Both of us new to the school. Both had moved from the same county in California. She and I are still friends. Even when our lives took different paths with college, marriage and birth of our children, we somehow had that connection that always allowed us to migrate back into each other's lives and pick up where we left off. There is actually a group of us that shared a special bond the last two years of high school, and we stay in touch regularly. And even though there are still some private barriers among us, I consider them close friends. Thankful to have women in my life that were there for each other then and would be tomorrow. My children even considers one of them as "Aunt". 
minus one twin, add daughter in law
Long distance friends. When our twins were born we found out that Gene's first roommate and past firefighter co-worker was also expecting twins. Both families had twin girls (Smith's and Jones'). We mom's bonded like super glue. For years our families saw each other whenever Gene's extended family had activities for us to attend ~ as we would pass through their town to go and return. Maybe only spending a couple hours together. As our children got to be old enough I even drove to their town and spent the night so the kids could get to know each other..... well, really just so she and I could talk!!! hahaha! I think she and I know each other better than any other friend I have. And each other's families. Maybe it was the distance that helped us to be so open and free to share. Maybe it was the way we were able to connect through motherhood of twin daughters and sons. Maybe it was the need we both had to be understood and non-judgemental when we discussed our feelings about our loved ones. We could spend hours on the phone. And did. Today there is quit a bit of distance between us, but she holds a very special place in my heart and even if she doesn't need me to hold her hand, I will always be there emotionally for her.
Today's friends. I still find myself with a lot of fringe friends, and friends that surround me as we all participate in the same activities (similar to when the kids were in sports), but I do appreciate BEST Friends. The ones that invite you into their lives to share in their family celebrations, vacations and are not afraid tell you they do not like that outfit you are looking at buying!! Can say "that does not look like you" and be correct! The ones that know you well enough they give you advice.... without fear. They know you will still love them if they are wrong. Best Friends. I cannot say they surround me in great numbers, but the few I do have I cherish. I hope they stay as Forever Friends.

BAMOT / MOOTS Friends
Group of Friends. This one is unique. Again it dates back to the birth of my twin girls. I joined a group called The Birmingham Area Mother's of Twins just before they were born. BAMOT.  We met once a month for a meeting of just mom's (and an occasional newborn) who got together to hear a speaker, and socialize. I was part of the group for about 10 yrs., holding every position there was on the Board ~ and was usually left to speak to the press at our outings.  I looked forward to the activities of this special group. Easter Egg Hunts, Halloween Festival, picnics, playgroups.... oh and selling our used clothes and baby items to each other!! I always had  several women lined up to buy my girl's things. Problem was, I was not always as lucky to have someone ahead of me selling! For the past 5 or more years a group of about 10-12 of us that call ourselves Mom's of Older Twins Society (MOOTS) have been meeting once a month to share dinner and talk. The conversations have moved from babies to grandbabies of late, but we still have lots of family or job and health issues to discuss too. So, I am very Thankful for these 'Old' Friends, Good Friends and Special Friends.

Thankful Thoughts

December 4, 2011

I have decided to think back on my Life today, so I can find the Joy deep inside me and bring it out during this Christmas Season.  It is not that I am without Joy. It just seems to be hiding behind the pains and grief of others of late, with a tiny bit of my own thrown in.

Growing up, I was not given a Faith based childhood. When I started High School I sought out sources of Faith on my own. One beautiful Sunday afternoon while walking around the campus of a local High School (within walking distance of my house), I experienced an attack by a young man. I was fifteen. It was close to Easter, and I was carrying a fold up "track" about God and Faith.  I believe that I was protected from the worst case scenario, by God, on that day.  Even though I was leery of this person who approached me, I was still young and made a couple of 'not so smart' moves that afternoon that put me in a vulnerable place with this stranger. As I was being physically attacked, I fought back and he eventually ran away. As I jumped to my feet, I noticed the Track still in my hand.
Thank you Lord.
I was so Thankful for His protection from what would have surely been a nightmare memory that day. Instead, I walked away with a sense of protection, as well as a lesson in listening to my instincts.

 Skip ahead and I get my next big Thankful Time ~ finding my husband, Gene. Being a young lady in the late 70's made it hard to find a man you could trust with your heart as well as your body. Drinking and drugs swirled all around me ~ as I suppose it did with most young women and men. It was a time when most of my friends went off to college and I went to work. I never participated in drugs, though I had my share of drinking nights. After a few 'near miss' encounters with some crazy men I had met during this time, I found a nice hard working, non smoking man!! His background was one of an Eagle Scout and Red Cross volunteer, and he worked as a firefighter/paramedic with our city.  We married within the year. I was so Thankful to have found someone who loved me back and I could trust with my life, my soul and my future. He still does.

More Thankful times ahead included the Birth of our Children. Thankful that even with an eight week EARLY start, our twin daughters came home to us Healthy and have grown up without any major issues because of it.
 
Then four years later, our mini firefighter was born to us without complications. Raising three of God's Children was at times challenging, but with His help (and some pre-school, bible school and Sunday school) they all three have grown up knowing Him in their hearts. I may not have had all the tools needed myself, but the Village Helped!! Thus, another Thankful ~ the Church.

Growing older has shown me to be Thankful for my Health! Over the years, I have not had any major health issues. Weight control maybe, but I have a good immune system and my body is hanging in there. I am starting to feel the effects of lack of exercise / strength, and every week I plan my next strategic attack :-D. 
One of our son-in-law's just had the last of his Cancer tumor surgically removed at the age of 32. He still has more chemo and radiation and then the task of trying to live life normally while you pray you stay cancer free.
Gene has had his own pain. Back Pain. Since January 2011. He has been on pain management for it and is now checking into surgery options. We pray he finds the right surgeon that can help him. (looking now)

We are definitely Thankful for our bountiful blessing of financial security. It is because of that we have been able to enjoy many activities and vacations with our family and friends, as well as take care of our lovely home. We have also been able to give to those in need and provide things for our community that help the handicap or less fortunate. It has also allowed us to diversify in business, giving us a second opportunity to share our bounty.

My last thought is about Friends. So Thankful for all the many people that have come into our lives, etc. But, after I started writing it, I realized it deserved a blog of it's own. So.... see you on the next blog!