Gratitude Project 2013 - Day 12 - Grateful for Friends

3 years ago

Gratitude Project 2013 - Day 12 of 30

Gratitude12

Gratitude Thought for the Day

"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood." Lucius Annaeus Seneca

When I was growing up in Girl Scouts we sang a song about friendships... "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." My oldest friendship is with my friend Sherree... we went to kindergarten through third grade together. We were inseparable. Within the first week of school, her mother had to figure out how to call mine because instead of going home after school I went home with Sherree. Her father worked for the Phoenix Police Department with my father, so I'm sure that helped her mom figure out who to call.

Our home lives were similar in some ways: the daughters of highly respected police officers... both of us were expected to do well in school, held to high standards. In other ways, our lives couldn't have been more different. I was the youngest child of only two in our household. Sherree was the next to oldest of a large LDS family. My own mother was rarely home (or even in the country), but Sherree's always was. My home was so quiet... hers was so loud... I often joke that if my mother didn't want me to grow up and have eight children, she probably shouldn't have let the Mormon lady down the street raise me!

The public school we went to was pretty bad. It was an inner-city school. Very few of the parents took any interest in their children's academic progress. They mostly sent them to school to get them out from being underfoot. By the end of the first grade, Sherree and I were at least 2-3 grade levels ahead of our peers. We were smart little girls, but a lot of that difference was because we were read to at home and books and learning were priorities to our parents... which made our lives very different from our classmates.

Long after we were grown up, Sherree's husband asked me about our grade school. We were both bullied so badly. I don't think he really wanted to believe that any school could allow the kind of treatment we received. He wanted to know if Sherree was exaggerating it or remembering it as worse than it really was. After I asked about what she had said I had to tell him that the reality was really far, far worse than she had shared with him. She hadn't exaggerated... she had downplayed what we went through.

Even though we've only gotten to spend a few days here and there together since we were children... if you ask me about my friends, Sherree's name has always and will always top that list. A huge part of who I am and how I see myself comes from those 4 years that we spent like sisters. There are parts of our lives that we will never be able to explain to anyone but each other.

In the years since, I have been blessed with some truly good friends. My childhood experiences have made me very cautious about who I trust, so if I call you my friend, you are someone I truly respect. Some of the best friends I have I met online through parenting groups I have joined over the past 21 years of parenting. We've talked, shared our lives, enjoyed each other's children, cried with each other, laughed with each other... everything friends would do in real life.

Two winters ago, I got to meet up with one of my dearest online friends... now, Karin and I don't look much alike... but when we met up in the hospital lobby where I was working, our joy at seeing each other was so great and we ran into each other's arms with such big hugs that the security guard asked us if we were sisters! (Oh, yes, we're sisters all right, just not the kind she thought!)

My friends Sher (not the same as Sherree) and Heather have been there for me through miscarriages, job problems, health scares... when I was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago I remember actually scolding Steven because he hadn't called or texted Sher to let her know what was going on! Isabella and Karen saw me through a nasty divorce and rejoiced with me when Steven and I met and married.

So yes, cherish your online friends, too... they can be more real than anyone realizes.

I could go on and on... the kids I babysat who grew up and turned into my friends (I love  you, Tina and Greta!)... the friends from my early twenties who I still turn to (Michelle, Karole, Kristy and Lee Anne)... this list only begins to scratch the surface.

Your Turn... Journal It!

Think about your earliest friendships... how did they make an impact on who you grew up to be? What about your friends from high school or college? The friends you made as you struck out on your own as a young adult? Who do you immediately think of to tell when something good happens in your life? Who do you feel safe trusting to tell when it's something not good? Whose voice immediately calms you? Who makes you laugh? Your best friends might be your siblings or cousins... they might be co-workers or from your church. Think through all of these possibilities and you shouldn't have any problems coming up with 5 things to be grateful for today! Don't miss any of the Gratitude Project 2013 posts:

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