A Very Cheesy Post in Which I Praise My Friends

I’m a little sick of myself these days.

Stress has been the common denominator in my life for the last two months. Stress was the theme of 2011. I also had a lot of craziness going on in 2009 (complicated pregnancy, bed rest for a month with three children at home, birth of fourth baby), sadness in 2008 (miscarriage), the loss of a dear loved one in 2007 (my Godmother) and 2006 was rough in indescribable ways (house on the market with two young kids, birth of third child, house back on the market with three little ones, a move across the country, and the death of my mother). This is not to discount all the joy and happiness in those years, because I experienced plenty of both, just sharing that the times friends have come to my aid are numerous.

I cannot even find the words to explain how much my friends’ support, listening and offers of help got me through these days. I’m the type of woman who releases stressful energy by talking about what’s going on, and my friends keep letting me do that, even though I’m worried I’m starting to reach a lifetime cap of benefits. I’m sick of listening to my own internal thoughts about the hard times, but my friends keep lifting me back up and standing by my side while I go through them. They’re not sick of me (or, if they are, they’re sweet enough to hide it).

A recent example – Zachary can no longer go to Disney World with the kids and I (long story). Our airline tickets are non-refundable, and the kids talk about our trip at least once a day, so canceling was not an option in my mind. But how can I take four kids to a huge theme park on my own? With the varying ages of the kids and the fact that at least one of them will probably be scared of each ride, I didn’t see how I could make it work.

I shortened the trip by two days, making things a little more manageable (saving hundreds of dollars didn’t hurt, either) and asked my dad and brother if they could go, but they weren’t able to take the time off work and projects to do so. Going to Disney World with your own kids can be anxiety-inducing enough, so I know that it’s not high on the priority list of non-parents to come with and hang out with me and the kids through the long days in the parks. Vacation days would need to be arranged, pre-planned commitments rearranged, transportation figured out. It’s work, and I know it.

And so I was completely floored, in an awe-struck “You’d do that for ME?” kind of way when a friend offered to go with me if it meant the difference between canceling the trip and still being able to go. She has three girls of her own and would need to find someone to watch them at home for a few days of the trip, but she was willing to do that. My sister offered to come for two days if I couldn’t find anyone else (which is huge because A) she’d have to leave her sweet little baby behind for two days and her husband of just over a year and B) my sister is NOT a fan of theme parks and would happily abstain from Disney for the rest of her life), and then my uncle said he’d consider going, too, if he can make some changes to his schedule.

People willing to take the time to fly to Florida so I can keep the promise I made when I first told the kids about the trip. I know what a sacrifice of time and energy it is to those who offered, and I’m unbelievably grateful.

And this is why I’m getting all Kumbaya today. My friends listen to me, they give me solid and unfiltered advice (I prefer bluntness and I get bluntness), we all go out and unwind together, they offer to watch my kids and I offer to watch theirs, they hug me when I cry. I don’t wish problems on my friends but I wish I had more to give back to them right now. I’ll find ways to repay their kindness in time – that’s the way friendships work, after all – sometimes the balance of need is equal, sometimes you get more than you give, and later you give more.  For now I’m doing what I can to pay it forward. I volunteer for a nonprofit organization that has monumental meaning to those it serves. The kids and I are going to participate in a Feed My Starving Children event this winter. I’m trying to figure out a way to raise money for the local food shelf by donating my business’ services.

I have been so lucky and rewarded by loving people in my life, and I want to return the favor for others who need a little love and compassion. Dear friends, I thank you for being such amazing people.

Written to participate in Just Write, while I try to stay awake through the haze of a very bad cold.

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Comments

  1. ambercadenas says:

    I love you getting all “Kumbaya” here on your friends – what a gift to have people who love us like this, huh? I understand, how humbling it can be to feel like I receive so much from friends during some pretty rough seasons of life and wondering when and how I can ever pay them back… learning to receive is hard. But giving back in love is sweet. Blessings to you.

  2. I don’t see anything wrong with being Kumbaya… I live around the fire humming happily most of the time. My friends have helped me out so much lately after my cancer surgery I can’t even express how great it feels PLUS I always feel like something of an ass asking for help, even now.

    Loved reading this post, it almost felt like I wrote it!

  3. Friends and family are wonderful people to have on your side. Now you can travel with less anxiety. Wonderful!

  4. Bummer huh! But thank heavens for friends! I had the same experience last year…lots of stress in my life. The hard part was we just moved so I didn’t have friends to be with so I can vent! lol. It’s really nice how you’re appreciating real friends. =>

  5. Friends are the best!

Trackbacks

  1. […] this explains some of my previous posts, ones written intentionally vague. Like about how Zachary will not be at Disney World with us. But I’m happy to report my uncle in Texas has graciously offered to go in his place, […]

  2. […] day, rebooking under free dining, adjusting Advance Dining Reservations, then removing two days, removing Zachary and adding my uncle) I think we are all set in the reservations department and our countdown to Disney has taken a more […]

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