Sometimes We All Just Need a Friend

It feels like it was many moons ago when I had a nervous little boy starting his first day of Kindergarten. Lars has always worn his emotions on his sleeve so it was painfully apparent to everyone in the colorfully decorated classroom that my son did not want to be there. He cried and asked over and over again to go home. However we persevered and the more he attended class the more he enjoyed it.

It is one of the important lessons of life: Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. It takes work and resolve to accomplish greatness. It takes determination even when the outlook seems grim. Success means having a healthy dose of optimism to back up your plans. It also helps to have support and a shoulder to lean on from the people we call friends.

I think it was a number of things that turned Lars around when it came to school but a big one was the friendships that he made in that first year of Kindergarten. There were two boys in particular who he hit it off with. As it happened the mothers of these boys also ended up being pretty spectacular human beings and just as the boys’ relationships grew into great friendships so did their mothers.

It is a wonderful thing when an acquaintance can blossom into something so meaningful over the course of only one year. I look at everything that has changed for me and my family over these last twelve months and I feel so thankful to have been blessed with Carla and Jen’s friendship. Just as Lars has found safety and comfort in his new friendships so have I.

I was having a bad day. The pressure of the move and about a thousand other everyday stresses had come crashing down on me and I felt as though I was drowning. Jen had picked up Lars from school for me and brought him to her house where she and Carla were having a play date for the kids. I figured it would be a good chance for me to get some packing done and try to de-stress a bit.

When I got to Jen’s house to pick him up I didn’t intend on staying and I certainly didn’t plan on breaking down into a blubbering mess in front of her and Carla.  But both of those things happened despite my best efforts.

One look of, “are you sure you’re okay” from Carla and every tear I was holding back and sob I was stuffing down came flowing out relentlessly. Before I knew it I was unloading on them every piece of anxiety I had been harboring and the worries that were weighing me down for what seemed like so long. I cried uninhibitedly, it was no doubt the ugliest of ugly cries and I didn’t give a damn. I told them how I felt I was failing as Mom because I couldn’t ease Lars’ anxieties about the move and how I didn’t know what to do about Sophie’s acting out lately.

Both of these women, who I’ve only known for a short time in the grand scheme of things, hugged me and told me that it was normal to feel this way. I spoke and they heard me. They listened to all of the junk that I had been piling inside of me because I didn’t think it was worthy of being let out and discussed. They allowed me to validate my feelings.

And I can never thank them enough for those few minutes we shared at Jen’s kitchen table that day.

Friendship can mean so many things. Perhaps we have friends whom we haven’t spoke to in months but just knowing they are there for us when we need them is enough. The relationships we have with our spouses are another type of inimitable camaraderie. The coffee conversations we have with our parents and the silent moments we share with our children. If we look we can unearth unique friendships everywhere.

As humans it is in our nature to find consolation in one another—whether it is to feel comfortable in a new school or to simply have someone tell us that everything is going to be okay. We talk, and cry and laugh and feel each other’s pain.  Friendship truly is a beautiful thing.

And in those quiet flashes of reflection we can truly realize how fortunate we are to have had these exceptional people slip into our existence.

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