22 March 2006

new friends

When I was in third grade, we moved into a new school district. I had plenty of friends at church, but felt a need to make new friends near my home, and set about advertising. This was accomplished by placing a very large, green chalkboard (the kind too slick to hold chalk well) in my front yard, close to the garage with the straight-forward message:

Wanted
Friends

Of course, it was full of bubble letters and what-not, and I believe had other specifications, and to be honest, I cringe in embarrassment now over that sign. No life-long friends were made, though I did meet a cute "older" boy from up the street (the recieving end of a crush at some point), Sean, and his two younger sisters, Jessica and Star. Jessica was a year younger than me, I think, and while they were a nice family, we never really spent much time together except on the bus. Meredith lived in the house behind our cul-de-sac (I was about half way up the street), and was in my class, but was quite the snob in my experience (though we had a close mutual friend, and made some efforts to be nice). Nearby streets had a few more classmates, but what I longed for was a friend right there, available often and ready to be real, not full of themselves. I was sorely disappointed in the long run. On the other hand, those were idyllic, happy years for me more often than not.

I do not make friends easily. I struggle with rejection and had a few too many kids poke fun when I was younger. I am secure in myself and my family, but I waver when it's time to step up to the plate and extend the hand of friendship. I no longer hang a sign announcing my heart's need, either in the yard or on my sleeve. Rather, I secretly hope someone else--normal and nice--will take a small step and initiate an opening into their lives. That done, I can be welcoming and flexible and open myself up.

Little B has been taking swimming lessons for four weeks. In his class are a little boy and a little girl. The first few classes, I chatted with the boy's mom during the lesson, and the girl's mom in the locker room (she has another, younger daughter as well). Both ladies were nice enough, and Little B loves being friends with anyone he can. He showered with the two little girls (ahem) after their lesson, rinsing the chlorine from their swim suits and then we'd scoot off the other end to change. Little B quickly became fast friends with the little girl, Kaleigh, and her younger sister, Mackenzie. The mom and I chatted a bit outside while we let the kids run around crazy-like in the unseasonably warm weather and I found myself comfortable with her.

I also followed her all the way home; well, within a few houses of it. By accident. It turns out that she lives down the street from us--literally. And so my son's begging for a playdate turned into a reality (taking that step for me was hard--really hard). We have had them over to play three times recently. I feel I've found a true friend; one who has time to be a friend. It almost makes me sad we're trying to sell our house.

For once in my life, I have found a friend on my street I am comfortable with. It hasn't been long, but I feel open and I trust my son with her kids; I don't worry about what he might learn from them or what I will hear later. And I definitely hope to stay in touch with her after we move.

And I didn't even have to advertise.

5 comments:

Heidi said...

Man, that speaks to my heart. Thank you for your transparency. I wish we lived closer... I think I'm pretty normal (other than that weird pastor-wife element, and that's not my fault!).

Carbon said...

Yes, I know what you mean. I find for myself that I have a lot of acquantinces but not a lot of friends. Sucks. I hope with time I'll find people that are real friends.

Mrs. Darling said...

I've been reading about your son with sensory integration disorder. My nine year old daughter has been diagnosed with that too. It's nice to know there are others that know what our days are like. Thank you for blogging so openly about it.

Peach said...

Thanks for sharing. I have so felt the same way. Thanks, too, for stopping by my site today. It's good to know I'm not alone. Where in GA are you? Don't you just love those O'Malleys? I feel like they are "friends" sometimes, too.

mommy to four j's said...

hi I just stopped by to say hi. God will be faithful to give you another friend.You can look at this is as a trial run now you can appraoch other moms more easily.Hope your house sells fast
Char