The sunshine of life

But you got to have friends
The feeling’s oh so strong
You got to have friends
To make that day last long…

This weekend we hosted the Navy Girls Reunion Tour as my daughter M, three of her former Navy galpals, and their six children all descended on the house. Six adults and eight children, even in a house this size, is pretty exciting. But we cooked and swept (and swept) and played and watched movies and went to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire and generally had a good time.

By Sunday, Little Miss had hit overload and needed a couple of hours’ retreat into my office, with the door closed. She’s so much better that I forget about her sensory issues sometimes.  Even Ditto Boy, who’s been so whiny about having no one to play with since the Captain went away on visit, starting picking fights with the boys and announced that he never had fun when M’S son was here. (Absolutely untrue. Just welcome to the ranks of what having a little brother would be like.)

But overall, very little damage across the board, so we ranked it a success– short and sweet.

Truth be told, I envied M for her reunion. It’s been years since I had “girlfriends” like that–high school probably. I never connected with anyone in college or law school, or when my ex was in the service. Even my old reporter friends are Christmas card newsletter types.  I’ve lived in this small town since 1990 and I’ve met women, had study groups at church and the like, but no one close.

The Cabana Boy’s the same way. His Oklahoma years are well behind him, no old Army buddies, and while he’s been at school, both as student and now as teacher, he’s much more focused on the companionship of his family.

Part of it is the autism, I think. It’s difficult to connect with other families when your children are dealing with much different issues, even if they are welcoming and tolerant of those differences. Part of it is that neither of us are social butterfly types.But we really tend to stick close to home and children.

I suppose we’ve set a bad example for the children by not demonstrating that ability/necessity to have a social network. Certainly K is reflecting the difficulties of starting in a new place by not knowing how to make new connections. B finds her friends and her closely-knit workmates in the same place, so she has a support group of sorts. And while M may not have a solid friendship set in whatever place the Navy sends them each time, she’s able to pull this diverse group of young women together frequently to meet and share with each other. Good for her. And this weekend, good for us, too.

the more the merrier...

the more the merrier...

Robert Louise Stevenson said, “A friend is a present you give yourself.” No need to wait for a special occasion–this gift gives all year round. Celebrate.

6 thoughts on “The sunshine of life

  1. Pingback: Posts about Butterflies as of August 3, 2009 | Sixways - Butterfly

  2. i wasn’t able to develop my own group of friends until my kids were in high school… work, life was enough. can’t imagine it’s any easier with special needs critters…. but yes, my collection of friends is worth celebrating… thanks for the reminder!

  3. Wow, this is so similar to what my life is like. I was actually just talking about my lack of friends in my area. Same goes for my kids, too. It is true that when you have special needs kids, then you find it much harder to develop those friendships. I mean, kids come home with friends from school and then their parents become your close friends.. I have not found anyone in the seven years I’ve been in my current town to be close friends with and I am a bit of a social butterfly!! Or at least a willing drinker of some fine wine, by the ocean on a nice summer day!! Guess it’s just really clicky!! I mean what are you suppose to do, put an ad out in the local paper: grown woman looking for a friend to play with!! Pathetic!

  4. I’ve often thought about this too! DH and I are really introverted and are happy to be alone most of the time. We have a small circle of friends we see a couple times a year and that seems to do it for us. At every IEP meeting the team stresses the need for G to have structured playdates outside of school – and because of my introversion (is that a word?) and the difficulty connecting with other families when your family is dealing with autism, this is the hardest task for me. I manage a couple each school year but it is so difficult. I’m sure I’m not being a good example to G as far as modeling social skills and developing friendships.

  5. my friends are your friends .. i am willling to share …. i think you should be more jealous of my mojito making abilities 🙂 (those tricks i will not share) 🙂

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