Monday, July 17, 2006

True Friendships: Lessons Learned from the Little One

The one problem I always had in my writing was clarity. My writing sometimes jumps from my head to my hands, without any thought process to make it better understood. It's as if I need the reader to jump into my brain to follow along. Well, I have realized a few things from having Brady that I hope to share over a few entries. It's as if he knew I needed clarity in my life and has made some parts of it much clearer. So, henceforth, is the beginning of Life Lessons from Brady. Feel free to add your own at any time!

We are blessed in our lives to be surrounded by many family members and friends who have been true angels. Things over here haven't been very easy in the past few years. We're a pretty happy family, but we've also been touched with challenges of our own. First, having difficulties conceiving for the second time and then having a child with a genetic syndrome, along with a rambunctious eight-year-old, things can get quite hectic!

One thing I have realized is where the true friendships are in our lives. You know who those true people are verse the pseudo-true. It's basically all about taking the easy way out. It's easy to be happy for someone when they have a child. It's easy to go to The Gap, buy a baby outfit and drop it off with a note and a smile. It's easy to meet up on holidays and special occasions, bounce the baby on your knee, tell the parents how adorable he is. It's easy to sympathetically nod your head when you hear of doctor appointments and even offer half-heartedly to help out when you're making the trip to Children's Hospital every week, sometimes twice a week. It's easy to ask, "How's Brady?" after not touching base for months. Yeah... we know people like that.

I used to be the one who made excuses for those people. "Everyone has a busy life," I'd say. The reality is that people make time for what they want to make time for. It's unnerving however, when the pseudos act like they are giving you the world. Sometimes I look around, shake my head and wonder where these people come from. I'll admit it-- I'm not perfect. Do I have friends or family members who I don't speak to as often as I should? Absolutely. However, I'd like to think that I am there when they need me; that I am there when they are struggling and seem desolate. As much as people want to let me give, I try to do that.

But then you have the people who call all the time to ask how it's going, to be your listening board when you need to sound off about your fears and anxieties in regards to William's, for the hundredth time. You have the people who come to the hospital every day, bring chips and salsa while your child lays on a light table for his jaundice. You have the people who call and say, "Hey, why don't I take Michael after school so you don't have to make arrangments when you're at the hospital?" You have the people who call to ask what Brady's weight was during those never-ending, all-important weight checks. You have the people who say, "Drop Brady off here so you can get out for awhile" or "Stop by and have dinner". (By the way, both those things happened this weekend.) You have the people who fit you into the doctor's schedule, who work with you so you're NOT going to the doctor's twice a week. You have the people treat you like every other new mother, excited to chat about her child even though it's about weight checks and cereal consistency - they still listen. They're reading this blog right now - heck, they know I have a blog.

Every mother who has a child with William's Syndrome will probably tell you that having their baby has made them aware of what is really important in the world. It's not like with every disaster that happens, we all get religious and lovey and good, because then... it wears off. We go back to our daily routine and we go back to our ways. Well, William's doesn't wear off. This isn't some fad or hot charity of the month. This is here to stay. So I need a little extra help right now. I need the sounding boards, the carpool help due to doctor visits and 7 a.m. appointments in town at the hospital. There are times that we all need a little more, and some times when we all give a little more. It all evens out in the end.

And that is what I have learned from Brady: true friendships blossom when things are tough. We need these people in our lives. We shouldn't settle for friendshsips that are onesided, or a farce or need that much forgiving all the time. We would never tell our children to settle for less in a friendship, why should we? I learned to not make excuses for people who just continue to disappoint. I think that was something I was told many years before, but I only just now realized it.


Nancy said...

Well said, Kerry. Who knew we would learn so much from our kids? I am glad to see you are blessed with friends and family who can lessen some of the stress that comes with having a child with WS. I consider myself very blessed that way, too! Love, Nance

Lisa R said...

I agree with Nancy very well said. As bad as it sounds I am the first one telling my "friends" these days that I just do not have the time. Out of most of my friends I am the youngest with the youngest children and pretty much the only one with a full time job. I feel at this point with all that is going on if I have to make a huge effort then it is no longer worth it. I too have found my true friends through this process and actually made some grat new ones, thank god for the internet. :)

I also have trouble expressing myself by writting, I think you just did a wonderful job.

Aspen said...

It sounds to me like you have no trouble writing. Beautiful post and all of your fellow WS moms, I am sure, would say the same. The friends that do help through all the good days and the bad days are the friends that are worth your time and energy. Others come and go…but true friends last a life time.

Take advantage of their help. They don’t know how else to support you than to offer their helping hands, so take them up on their offer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, I love hearing all that you have to say!