The last two weeks have been filled with a lot of friendship talk. Ashley has never really had friends before and has had some issues determining what makes a good friend and what makes a bad friend. She has been exposed to some girls who are definitely in the latter category. One of them has a very strong personality and seems to suck the other girls into making poor choices. We have had a lot of talks about how you have to walk away and when do you know if someone if is your friend. Part of me feels awful, this kid is finally connecting with her peers and we have to break the bubble and let her know that not everyone is good, not everyone is honest, and some people are mean.
This has been an extra struggle for me because I don't remember "learning" how to make friends. When I asked my Mom about this, she pointed out that from the ages of 3-10 I was glued to the side of Nicole. This was a bonus in the friend making market, I never worried about making friends because I always had Nicole. I think we must of stood up for one another, I don't remember being angry at other kids for being mean to me, but I do remember yelling at a girl who lived in our neighborhood and was mean to my cousin. I guess by the time we moved to Oregon, I was old enough to just figure it out. Plus, I am pretty comfortable talking to anyone so that helps.
It is weird how much you forget about growing up. The little things, like the belief that any kid that comes up to you is going to be your friend or that Narnia may really be in the back of your closet. That coloring and singing are the two greatest things ever and that every day is a brand new adventure. Mostly I am amazed at Ashley's resiliency. Somehow, despite all she has been through, she has managed to hold onto her innocence and her belief that people are good. That is a miracle.
I hope she learns what a good friend is, and I pray that God sends her some amazing friends to bless her life. Friends have always been hugely important in my life and I want her to have those people that she can connect with at any moment. I truly hope she meets someone in elementary school. There is something special about a friend, or cousin, who can remember when set the house on fire because you wanted to know what would happen you microwaved the Kleenex; and who was willing to always to be the first to try our homemade Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
As we become adults, those people become more precious because they connect us back to a time that feels so far away. I know that the road of friendship isn't always easy. Sometimes, you spend most of high school being friends with a girl who is mean to everyone, and goes crazy when she isn't elected homecoming princess, and it takes one clear moment of her being mean to someone else to walk away. There are moments when the dorky boy who never has lunch is assigned to sit across from you at lunch and even though you are annoyed at the time, he turns out to be one of your oldest friends. People will hurt you, and not everyone will turn out to be your best friend, but I hope that Ashley learns how to give people a chance. I also hope that she gets to experience the joy of being a good friend with someone for a long time.
A lot of foster kids miss out on this, and they are the ones who really need friends. I hope each the lonely foster kiddos out there get to have one true friend. To all my friends, old and new, thank you. I feel like I have been slacking in the friendship category the past few months, but please know that I can't wait to see and catch up with each of you.