Thursday, January 22, 2009
Angels Come in the Form of Tired Friends in Tennis Shoes
If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it's that there is no possible way I'd survive without a good support system (or, as I like to call them, our own personal angels). I don't think that rule applies to just parents of Deaf children, but to anyone who has ever done anything difficult. I have worked with and helped parents of children with a variety of special needs. It doesn't matter what their child's "issue" was, the rule still applied. A great support system is always necessary. And, like I said, it even applies to people who are just trying to get by and live life. Humans need each other. Plain and simple.
What I hadn't really taken into account is that our support system doesn't always have be in the form of someone we have right by us. Sure, a good firm hug is always nice and we have to physically touch for that. But, there are other things that can be equally, if not more, comforting. (Especially for me since I'm not a very touchy feely kind of girl.)
I also hadn't really given credit to the support systems that were already in my life even before I got married, let alone had children. There are some people in my life who have been with me through thick and thin, if not in person then always in spirit. For me, it's some dear friends who came into my life at just the right time...and stayed there. I always call them my other mom and dad. It's also a special aunt who has never let me down. And, it's friends from my childhood who are still willing to call me friend all these years later.
I got a package in the mail today. No return address on it. I was, of course, completely curious as to who it could be from and what could be in it. Nothing could have prepared me for the special surprise inside. It was a beautiful blanket, and two matching burpees for Little Guy. And, a card from my friend, Megan. To anyone else, it would be considered just a baby gift. But there's more to it than that for me.
Megan and I grew up together when she moved to my hometown when we were both about 13 years old. We ran with seperate crowds at school, but enjoyed each other at church. I remember that she was so good at everything. Everything!! And she was SO COOL!! I loved Meg. And I clearly remember that, even though we didn't hang out with the same group at school, she never let me down. She always smiled and said hi when I walked past her in the hallway. (And that was a big thing because she was cool and I was...um...well, a theater geek with bad hair.) When it came time for college, she and I were the only ones in our graduating class going to this one particular school (mostly because it was in Rexburg, ID where it was so cold your nose hairs froze together. Literally.) Anyway, since we were the only two going there, we became roommates. That was one of the best years of my life. I don't remember much of what I learned in class, but I remember being grateful that she was the one there with me.
Anyway, now that you've gone down Memory Lane with me, let me tell you what all this has to do with anything. Meg sent Little Guy this blanket and burpees. She didn't know it, but I have always believed that every new baby, even if he is the FOURTH boy, deserves his very own special blankey when he's born. Little Guy didn't have one of his own. Sadly, he's been sleeping with Pretty's old pink blankets. (A huge sin in the eyes of "real men" everywhere). Megan would have had no way of knowing that, but she's one of those lifelong friends that just is always thinking of people she loves. Somehow, she just knew what we needed after the week we've had. It's just one more example of how a great support system never lets you fall when the going gets tough.
And then, literally while I was in the middle of writing up today's post, I got a call from another friend, Julie. "Don't make dinner. I'm bringing it over. *giggle*" I don't even know what to say other than thank you. THANK YOU!!!
So, tonight while my baby is cuddled up in his long-distance hug from Megan and I have something warm in my tummy but no dirty dishes in my sink, I'll remember that I have angels in my midst. They come in the form of good friends with big hearts and open minds. They may not wear halos and have wings, but instead wear tennis shoes and drive mini vans. And all that is great by me. And they may not speak to me through a burning bush, but instead send fun text messages (thanks, Mindy!), encouraging e-mails, yummy dinners, and blankies in the mail.
Growing up, I never would have guessed I'd be raising five children two of whom would have special needs. I may be the one blessed with the challenges of raising these amazing big spirits trapped in little bodies, but it's the angels in tennis shoes and mini vans that make it all possible for me to be the best possible mom to them.
(And, yes, Little Guy does have other outfits. He just happened to be wearing this one again when his package came. He was so excited to have his picture taken with it that he wouldn't even let me change him. *giggle*