Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Friend Like That

A true-to-the-heart friend who GETS you and loves and accepts you despite all your various flaws and shortcomings is a treasure on Earth. You know, the one you can say ANYTHING to and she will understand it from your perspective. You will not have to spend hours trying to explain yourself. She already knows. And if she doesn't, she will fry her brain trying. And you know her the same way. It's a magic and precious bond.

I am a lucky girl, because I have a few of those. Let me tell you about one in particular, since Allie's 2-year anniversary of having type 1 diabetes is this Saturday and diabetes plays into this story.

(Insert waves or "diddly doo's" here)

It was an early Saturday morning in June 2007 as Todd and I headed out the door to walk to the park across the street from our house to take part in the Primary activity (our church's program for kids). Reaching the corner, we merged with more foot traffic: Amy, another Primary teacher and neighbor 2 blocks away who I recognized but didn't know well, and her kids.

As we stood watching the kids laughing and playing water games, a deep feeling came to me: I knew somehow in that moment that Amy was going to be a huge, monumental part of my life. It was almost like a revelation, it was so strong. I looked at her and pondered who this chick was and how she would come to be so integral to my life. I also thought my plan of not getting attached to anyone in this ward just might be foiled.

Let me note here that when I meet someone, or am getting to know someone, I have to reeeeally tone down my personality. I'm a total and complete nutball and am wide-open. To say that I can be misunderstood is a vast understatement. I know that I overwhelm some people. Some people can't handle me, and I'm totally okay with that. Not everyone has to like me or want to go along with my wild schemes. (Betsy, sorry I got us pulled over by the cops...twice. What? We were on rollerblades! That's all I'll say).

So when I got this knowledge that Amy and I were going to bond in some way, I thought, "Fantastic! I can skip the whole toned down, polite and respectful Sandi and get straight to the sarcasm and farting."

It was so freeing and refreshing! Amy, however, didn't seem to know quite how to take it. hehehe. Okay, so I still had to tone it down a bit.

Amy and I slowly got to know each other. I told her about Allie having type 1 diabetes and the stress and heartbreak that goes along with it. I told her about Todd and me, about this and that, and our friendship started to grow.

Then one day I got a phone call. It was Amy calling from the hospital. Her 10-year-old son, Caden, had developed type 1 diabetes. I cried, I cussed, I told her it would be okay, that I would help her get through this. I felt so blessed to be able to be there for her through this life-changing event.

Who would've known I would be the one to receive the bigger blessing?

Soon after their stay in the hospital, Amy and Caden returned home to a much altered life full of lancets, test strips, glucose meters, syringes, insulin, calculations and carb counting. To say the least, it is extremely overwhelming.

One night as I lay on the couch talking to Todd, there was a knock on the door. Todd got up to answer it and in whooshed a tearful and snotty Amy. She was in quite the state. I grabbed and hugged her, apologizing for my stinky pits. She snotted on my shoulder and apologized for that. That we could worry about manners in an apparent emergency makes me giggle now.

I asked what was wrong. I thought something terrible had happened to Caden.

Amy told me that a visiting family member had put butter and milk in the mashed potatoes and now Caden couldn't eat them because she couldn't count the carbs and she was upset because Caden loves mashed potatoes and she just wanted him to be able to eat some mashed potatoes!

People, let me tell you, I cried into a pot of beef stew someone had brought us when Allie got out of the hospital after her diagnosis. I couldn't count those carbs to save my life. The kind sister had put noodles AND potatoes and carrots in them and it fried my brain. Of course, both Amy and I can the carbs in anything you put in front of us now, but in the first days, it sucked butt.

So anyway, I smiled at Amy and told her it was okay. I wanted to giggle, and I might have (did I, Aimes?) and I reminded her of my beef stew story. My heart broke for her. Todd spoke up and assured Amy that I was a complete and utter mess for the first month after Allie's dx, and that Amy was doing was much better than I had (and that's the truth!). I had to cry along with Amy, because I could feel what she was feeling. There's a bond between type 1 moms, I tell you.

We looked up the carbs in the Calorie King book, Amy felt stupid (which she shouldn't have) and apologized for snotting on me (which also didn't warrant an apology). She went home and counted carbs, got right back up on the saddle and went on. She's a much stronger person than I am.

What was the bigger blessing I received? It is through our love and service to others that our own hearts are healed and our lives change for the better. We find our strength. Having someone to share not only the "normal, everyday" ups and downs of life, but someone who also understands the very complex emotional pain of having a child with type 1 diabetes, is a blessing beyond words. I believe Amy and I were drawn to this neighborhood for this reason: to lift one another up. She has held me up on many occasions. To the rest of the world, we're just two girlfriends out shopping and being silly. And we are. But, with a knowing smile, Amy and I understand that we go much deeper than that.

Amy, thanks for putting up with me; I know I can be a pain in the hoinkus. And Aimes, you can snot on me any time, day or night. That's what true-to-the-heart friends do for each other. They take the good with the bad, the difficult with the easy, the snot with the tears. It's all good.

I love you, Amy!

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2 holla'd back:

Aimes said...

Sniffle; sniffle; (snot on your shoulder) sniffle.... I love u too! and i'm sorry you tagged me and I'm so retarded with the computer all I could do was update my blog... sniffle....

SuperCoolMom said...

LoVE this awesome, heartfelt post - and your fabulous writing skilz! So great to find a true friend like that! What a blessing!

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