I have been pretty lucky my whole life and have always felt blessed that no matter what adversity came my way, some good would come about superseding the hard time and blossoming into something better. Maybe a missed business opportunity that opened the door for a better, more lucrative one. Maybe a missed connection that allowed for a better connection.
Where friends have been concerned, I too were always very lucky, having some great friends that were always there for me. No matter what, I could count on them. These are not fly by night friends that you meet out while drinking, not work friends that come and go based on your employment and not friends who judge you by their personal standards. These friends were true friends, they were always there no matter what....
But what happens when your child becomes ill. What happens when your child has a disability, a disorder. What happens when your financial condition changes and you can no longer do the weekly dinners out, the party's, and the vacations. What if you can't talk about buying a new car, about what college your kid is going to go to, about re modeling your home or your investment portfolio because every cent you have, have had, probably will have again has to go for healthcare, doctors visits, therapy, medication, and food.
Anyone who has or has had a child with a long term illness or disorder probably knows exactly what i am talking about. This is when friendship changes. This is a time when people face their own realities. The fear that if they are part of your life, they can no longer experience the joy of having a good life and doing things, inviting you out, buying a new car, go on vacation, because they are reminded everyday that life for you has changed and what kind of friend would they be to enjoy life while your not. How could they share the joy of a new car, a new tv, a vacation with you while knowing you have trouble making ends meet on a weekly basis. They are afraid to talk in front of you. Afraid that your life will hinder their happiness.
This is also a time when you do see your true friends. They may be a new friend or an old friend but still a true friend. The people in your life that are there for you. The ones who still invite you for dinner, even if it means changing the choice of restaurants, happy to share the new car purchase with you incase you ever need to borrow it. These are the people who remember that your child is ill or has a disability or disorder and are still your friend. They remember that life is not a competition to see who has more or can do more. They remember that everyday you struggle to have a normal existence and they know you cannot do it alone. Their friendship and support is vital.
So to our real friends, we say Thank You. Thank You for everything you have done to be there for us, to support us, and comfort us when we need it. Thank you for picking up the tab at the restaurant, thank you for loaning us money, thank you for babysitting so we have some time out. Thank you for cooking, thank you for having the decency to ask how we are doing. Thank you for inviting us over or out and including our kids. Mostly though, thank you for caring. We are very lucky as we do not have lots of friends, but the few we have are pretty special.