A few years ago, I had a conversation about friendships with a fellow mother of a child with special needs. She shared that the friends that she once had, were no longer in her life, after having her child. After a while, the friendship seemed to fade with all the many responsibilities of caring for her child.
As I listened to her sorrow of the lost friendship, camaraderie, and closeness, I grieved for her. Although I don’t share the same experience, I can understand to some extent how difficult it would be in maintaining a friendship with all the responsibilities in raising a child with special needs. As parents, we place so much time and strength into our children that it becomes difficult to give any remaining energy to a friendship.
I must say, I am blessed to still have friends. My group of friends are strong, because some of them have been in my life for a long time. They have seen my sad moments, listened to me cry, complain, and more as I raised my son with special needs. Some of them have even babysat Nate, with his unpredictable behavior and they are still my friends. I truly thank God!
What I realized is that I need friends outside of Nate. And I will be honest, it is not easy maintaining friendships. We can get caught up in our situation, our feelings, and our attitudes that pull us away from people. We can decide to be alone and let the feelings of loneliness and depression take over our life, making it a battle to keep our friendships active and alive.
Yet, we need friends. And we must do our best to maintain them.
I know I need my friendships. These ladies keep me from going insane. They call, check up on me, send me an encouraging word, and laugh with me. They tell me when I’m being ridiculous, when I am doing a good job, and when I’m not doing a good job. There are times we go out for a meal and a movie. We have taken vacations together. They send text messages that make me laugh, which I love. Yet, most importantly, they take time out of their busy schedule to pray for me.
Yet, what is even better, is that I get to do the same for them.
As moms, no matter if we are raising a child with special needs or not, we need to do our best to connect to others, maintaining those friendships in our life.