Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blind Date

One day, quite out of the blue, M's Occupational Therapist set me up on a blind date.  Of course I was giddy with excitement, totally scared and nervous at the same time.  What would I say?  Will I make a good first impression?

M's OT had said to me, "I am not supposed to do this, and it goes against the rules of my job, but there is someone I think you should meet."

She continued, "There is another family I work with, they have a little boy similar to M.  They also have a daughter the same age as Miss J.  The mom is great and I think you would really hit it off and she wants you to call her.  Here is the number."  She pressed the paper into my hand.

Another mom?  With a kid like mine?  Someone to talk to?  A potential friend? 

Dear readers, let me explain the social life of a mother with a young child with special needs.  It is easy to sum up:  There isn't one. 

You are going through life, minding your own business and enjoying yourself when, BAM!, your world shifts on its axis and you are suddenly thrust into medical appointments, therapy, bills, fear and worry.  It doesn't leave much time for a social life.  You barely make time for old friends, let alone taking the time to cultivate new friendships. I  had already detached from many friends.  They hadn't done anything wrong, but simply put, it was just too hard to be with people.  I felt I no longer had things in common with my friends. None of them could understand or relate to anything I was experiencing.  At times it was painful for me to watch their children grow and thrive while the future for my son was so uncertain. I'd find myself annoyed after listening to a friend talk about some great new thing her child had done or frustrated when  friend complained how she had little sleep the night before because her child was up with an ear infection.  I felt my friends could only watch me break down or listen to my complaints so many times. I was tired of repeating the latest news with M.  I was worn, weary, tired.  I had little energy and felt I brought little to the proverbial table. I had taken, but had nothing to offer.  I was swimming in my own chaos and could not return the favors and generosity that had been showered upon us since M's birth. Deep inside I was ashamed of the changes I had allowed in me.  I loathed myself. Through no fault of those nearest and dearest to me, I pulled away.  It was never about them.

So now here I was, with a phone number in my hand.  I dialed.  She answered.  We made small talk.  She invited me to her house so we could meet, face to face. I was in the backyard with Miss J while I was talking to her and took down her address with a piece of chalk because I didn't have a pen.  I wrote on the concrete patio and it had rained later that day, erasing the address. I called her  for the address again.  

She told her daughter, Miss A. all about Miss. J.  I told Miss J. that she would soon go play with Miss. A. My M and her son L were too young to understand the significance of their meeting, but we mothers held enough excitement for both of them.

The day of the blind date arrived.  I pulled up to K's house and Miss. A was standing on the front steps, jumping up and down saying, "You're here! You're here!  You're finally here!"  As I was struggling to free M from the car seat, Miss J bolted out of the car and over to Miss A.  The girls ran in the front door, through the house and out the back door to Miss. A's backyard and up into her playhouse. 

I rang the doorbell.  She answered.
"Umm...hi.  I'm S...and that blur that just ran through your house was Miss J.  And this is M."

We sat in the shade of a tree in her backyard with our boys on that hot summer day, sipping iced tea and getting acquainted.  We discovered we had much in common.  Conversation flowed easily. There was comfort.  We understood each other.  No explanations were needed.  

Another get together was planned.  Then another.  And another. Before long our families were spending weekends together or planning mini vacations together.  We began spending Easter and Christmas together.  New family traditions were born.  

This bond, this amazing friendship, helped save me.  It brought me back out again.  It reconnected me to the world again.  I relaxed, I laughed.  I had FUN.

Miss J and Miss A share that special bond as well.  The girls are quite different.  Miss. J is outgoing, fearless, free spirited, impulsive, silly.  Miss A is articulate, serious, conscientious, calm.  They give each other balance.  Each has what the other needs.  

Through the years, K and I have grown quite close.  There is no need to pretend, never a need to force a happy face.  No need to hide.  She accepts me at my best, and even still when I am showing her my absolute worst.  She is always there for a shoulder, an ear, a hug or a solid kick in the butt when I need it.

Perhaps it was some Divine intervention bringing this family to ours. Perhaps this journey with M had caused me to be more aware and more appreciative of the value of true friendship.  Perhaps I was in a place where I was ready to be open to receiving friendship.  

However it came to be, they are in my life.  For that, I am forever grateful.

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