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.
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.