Forever friends

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“Someone has said, ‘If you want your friends to remember you, borrow something from them.’ I want to turn this around and say, if you want to remember your friends, be sure to borrow from them.  Borrow faith, hope, and love.  Borrow courage, humility, and integrity.  Borrow their Christian example of the unseen values of the soul.  Borrow their confidence in the living God and their loyalty to the triumphant Christ. Then indeed your days will be filled with strength.”

– John W. McKelvey

This weekend I had the opportunity to do some borrowing from a dear friend.

A few years ago I had the blessing of being part of a MOPS group. (Mothers of Preschoolers)  At one of our meetings we had a woman come in and talk about the blessings of friendship among women. She talked about three different types of friends…the friends you share a past with (for example: childhood friends), the friends that walk before you (for example: the women that serve as mentors, those who have walked this path and who can help guide us through) and the friends that walk beside you (the friends that share this season of your life.) I have friends that fall in all three of these categories and all are great blessings to me.

Often the friends we rely on most are the ones in the last category. I think it is because they “get it.” There is comfort in relatabilty. When I was a young mom I lived for my MOPS meetings. I knew that every other Thursday morning I could drop my kids off in the nursery, eat a muffin or other treat without having to share it with a little one, visit, laugh, and cry tears of frustration with other moms who understood.  When I graduated MOPS I found that same understanding and support in a group of home school moms. I was no longer crying over sleepless nights and spilled milk, instead my worries and frustrations revolved around teaching a dyslexic child to read and how to meet the demands of a full teaching schedule with younger siblings running around.

I have found God to be incredibly gracious in every season of my life. With each path I have traveled He has put women in my life who “get it.” Women who are praying for the same things, crying over the same losses, are struggling with the same fears, and lifting their voices in praise over similar victories. These friendships are balm for the soul. To laugh and cry in the arms of a friend can be the most effective medicine. I had the chance to “self medicate” over the weekend in the living room of a friend who is walking a similar path down the road of adoption. I was able to expose my greatest worries and frustrations to her without fear of judgement or need to explain. She “got it” because she has felt the same way. It was healing to hear someone else express the feelings that I haven’t been free to express to many. It was rejuvenating to belly laugh over the same crazy road we are walking down and it was testimony building to hear her speak God’s truths…those promises I know to be true but sometimes forget in the midst of the struggle. It was a much needed boost after a challenging week.

Ozzie and Tyler continue to grow in their friendship and relationship as brothers. The sudden change in their relationship from best friend to arch nemesis and back again is whiplash inducing. They are both growing and learning. I have to keep reminding myself that we are not even two months into this process and then try to readjust my expectations accordingly. BUT even with the frequent bickering they both declare the other their best friend. It has been nice for Tyler to have a playmate, someone close to his own age who plays with him not out of duty but out of desire. Here are some of their recent escapades…

Tyler has been trying to teach Ozzie how to tie his shoes. I taught Tyler to tie his shoes a few months ago and now he has made it his personal mission to teach Ozzie. Some days it goes smoother than others. 🙂

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For Ozzie’s birthday he received a game from Uncle Travis called “Boom Boom Balloon” The game is played by putting a balloon in the frame and then taking turns rolling dice. The number on the dice tells you the number of sticks you put in the frame. The goal is to NOT be the one to pop the balloon. For those that read my post on the stress I feel playing the game Perfection you can imagine how much I enjoy this game 🙂  BUT the boys love it so we have been playing it a lot lately.

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We have enjoyed a few days of spring like weather. Toby took advantage of the thaw to get some chores done around the yard. He had two little helpers tag along.

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This past week was Dr. Seuss week at school for Ozzie. He had fun with all the themed days: crazy sock day, crazy hat day, backwards day, and green day for “Green Eggs and Ham.” Every day as Ozzie dressed for the theme of the day Tyler dressed for theme as well. On the “Sneeches” day Tyler showed up at his therapist’s office with a yellow star taped to his belly. It was a fun wardrobe week and a perfect excuse to be silly. For breakfast on “Green Eggs and Ham” day we had green eggs in honor of Dr. Seuss.

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It has always been a focus in our parenting to raise children who are friends with each other. We have always believed that the friendships and relationships between siblings trump all other outside friendships. These are the people who will be part of your life forever. I have been blessed with siblings who are more than just brother and sister. My siblings are my dearest friends. I want my children to be able to say the same. It is hard, however, when you add a child to siblings who have been together their entire life. They now have to grow a new bond with a stranger who will become their brother. With that comes growing pains. Hearts are stretched, patience tested, and a variety of emotions bubble to the surface through the process. It isn’t easy for anyone. The biological children struggle with having their lives shaken up and rearranged to make room for the new addition. The adoptive children scramble to claim a spot in this new family unit while still mourning the loss of loved ones from their past. Parents watch with aching hearts as everyone experiences hurts and pains through the growing process. Nobody comes through the bonding process untouched by both the good and hard parts of it all. Emotional muscles are exercised that have lay dormant for years and from that exercise comes a strengthening. The family unit goes through a period of weakness, shakiness, and pain before those family muscles grow into something powerful, strong, and unwavering. I know it is true. I watched it happen as the kids opened their lives to Tyler and now I am watching it happen again. It isn’t easy to grow but it is what we are called to do. It is my prayer, always my prayer, that through the struggle beautiful bonds will form and my children will know the blessing of calling their siblings, “Friend.”

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“We cannot tell the precise moment when a friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”             – Samuel Johnson

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