Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Gift of Friendship

My daughters were in some ways, atypical from most kids when they were growing up. We wanted them to be kids and not allow society to grow them up quickly. We placed limits on what they watched on tv and how often they played video games and encouraged them to use their creative minds. They read, created, played. When they were outside, they found adventures waiting for them. They climbed trees, played in the mud, wrote stories, made cookies and used their imaginations. What made their adventures that much greater was their friendship. I still remind them to this day, "Your best friend will always be the one that has stuck by you from the very beginning and that friend is your sister".

When it was time for them to make friends on their own, I worried how it would affect them. Would they find friends that appreciated their loving spirits and their quirky personalities? Would their friends really "get" their jokes? How about their fears? Would their friends reach out?

Letting go was hard but I knew that it was time. I sent Ev'Yan to school with a beautifully, (at least I thought so) handmade t-shirt. I had embellished it with decorative jewels, ribbon and paint. What a cutie she was walking into the classroom on her first day. As I stood outside the classroom waiting for class to end, I anticipated hearing about her new friendships and adventures made that day. Instead, she calmly walked out of the classroom with the ribbons untied in her hair and her t-shirt destroyed. All of the ribbons, paint and jewels were gone.

I waited until we were in the car before asking her, "What happened to your shirt?"

She shrugged her shoulders and said, "I guess they all fell off."

I knew that there was somehow, more to the story that she wasn't telling. The truth came out when her teacher called. She said, "Ev'Yan had a hard time sitting still in circle time today. She wouldn't pay attention. I think maybe it was because she was busy pulling off the things on her shirt, giving them to the kids nearby."

My heart sunk. After I hung up the phone, I called her to sit with me. "Ev'Yan, the teacher said that you pulled off the ribbons, paint and jewels on your shirt and gave them to the kids during circle time. Is that true?"

She looked at me, eyes huge. "Well, I didn't want to but then a boy asked for one of the jewels. I gave him one 'cause I wanted him to be my friend. Then, another girl asked for one, so I gave her one. Before I knew it, my shirt wasn't pretty anymore."

She had sacrificed something she liked and that I had worked hard to create, because she wanted friends. Where had I gone wrong in teaching her about friendships? I reflected on what I told her about friendships that day. "In order to have friends, you must be friendly. Friends are like the jewels on your shirt. You treasure them because of who they are on the inside, not what they are on the outside. When you have a true friend, you'll know for sure that that friend will always be there for you, no matter if you're having a good day or a bad one."

Years later, I see that little girl in me, wanting to give what I have to make friends. Here in Oregon, I'm happier than I've ever been, but I'm friendless. I'm not quite ready to pull the jewels off of my shirt though. I realize that I can reach out and give out smiles, (their free) or lend a hand or pray for someone that needs it. I bake a mean chocolate chip cookie too. When the time comes, I'm certain, I'll find the precious treasure that friendship brings.


Mari said...

I think we've all been that little girl at some time. It's hard to put yourself out there even as an adult.
However - you have so much to give and I know there are people out there that would so value you as a friend. Again I say I wish you lived closer!

Beau's Mom said...

Oh Simone. How much I identify. In Indiana I was ME and everyone knew who ME was and they either adored me, or couldn't figure me out. Here, I'm SO ALONE except for Joe. There's more out there...what if something was to happen to Joe? I am adrift in a sea of women who are unlike me and probably were at all stages in life.

Just because we all landed here because 'retiring to Florida' is what Joe followed as a rule, doesn't mean I have anything in common with anyone surrounding me. And I don't.

Brian Miller said...

i resonate...its been a hard time here moving back a few years ago...all the friends i had before kinda moved on...and my work def makes it hard...but it can happen...it made me smile that she was willing to give to others though...but i like your wisdom on friends...

Terra said...

That's a sweet story about your daughter, you, jewels and making true friends.

Annesphamily said...

what a precious story! i love visiting you here. come visit me soon. i am hoping you are doing well. take care and hugs anne

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

The sweetest story...I can so relate

Nezzy said...

Amen girl, that's what I tell both children and adults alike. To have friends, ya gotta be a friend.

Sweet, sweet story. I can just see your little girl self givin' your beautiful jewels to your classmates.

I be you were just cute as a button 'cause you still are.

I know in my heart God has a perfect friend for ya just waitin' in the wings.

God bless and have an amazin' day sweetie!!! :o)

Leslie Payne said...

Sweet, sweet story. And you obviously struck a chord with a lot of people. Count me in! I moved to this area when R. and I married almost 8 years ago. It seems every friend I make soon moves away. My physical therapist has been my most consistant friendship! LOL Let's keep blooming where we're planted, one smile at a time.

Ina in Alaska said...

I think everyone seems "busier" these days. It is hard to get close to people & maybe that is ok. I have many friends who are all part of different circles- the tennis people, the dog folks, neighbors, co-workers. There is always something going on in any one of those groups.

Plus you are a newlywed & blending a family. Not easy. Much effort required there. I do not envy you at all. Been there/done that.

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

I can so much relate to what you are felling. Terry and I moved to NC for his work, 3 years ago. Besides leaving behind my daughters and grandsons, I left my 5 dearest women friends. We had come together at work. One by one we left but even after 30 years, we are still close. How can I ever capture that again. You can't. So, I have no friends here. Looks like a few of us understand.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Simone, I've lived in several different cities and states and I can so relate to this. Relocating and establishing friendships can be hard. But I've met you and I KNOW you are a sweetheart and it's just a matter of time before you have some really great gal pals to hang out with.

Hang in there. xoxo jj

Relyn said...

I know that friendless feeling. It is such a difficult time to go through. Don't give in, you know that new friendships will arrive more quickly than you think.

Linda Myers said...

Simone, I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for 30 years. I have found it is hard to make friends here. It's not that people are unfriendly. It just seems like they have all the friends they want already. I have no idea why that is.

What worked best for me was to live my life, doing what gave me pleasure, and to meet like-minded people. One by one.

Good luck to you. I get it!

Veronica Lee said...

What a sweet story about your daughter!


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