Moving and Making Friends
Moving is hard. Very hard. Especially when you have three little kids at home. I know this because I have done it not once, but twice in the last two years. Yep, crazy huh? Making friends, I feel is even harder. My husband recently got a new job and we moved out-of-state. His new job has been such a huge blessing to our family. Having three kids to take care is a lot of work especially when one child has special needs. Our whole family dynamic has changed because my husband is actually home now for dinner, rarely works a weekend, and has holidays off now. Most days he even joins us for lunch! He also is working fewer hours, so his stress is less which makes for a happier daddy.
I really hate to complain about moving and having to make new friends because I know the other side of not having a husband home to help around the home. So even though I am so grateful that God has blessed us with this new job, my heart is sad. My heart is sad because some of my closest friends were my old neighbors. I saw these friends almost every day. One of the best things about our friendship was I was able to enjoy my friends (and talk to an adult!) and not feel bad because my kids played with their kids too. Everyone had a friend buddy their age so it worked out perfectly.
Making Friends is Complicated:
I am a somewhat introverted person. I tend to stick to myself, but then I come out of my shell when I am around other outgoing or extroverted people. These types of personalities help me to relax so I am more of myself. I like to add to conversations but not have to come up with the topic if you know what I mean. Being that type of personality it is difficult to put yourself out there. Since becoming a mom I have put myself out there more, but my insecurities tend to still get in the way.
When my oldest was a baby I use to take him to the library every week for story hour. Another mom and I with boys similar in age would sit by each other and chat. We had a lot in common and chatted for several weeks. Once the weather started warming up I worked up the nerve and said we should hang out at the park sometime. She gave me a weird look like I was a creepy stalker or something. She politely said “oh yea,” but we never exchanged numbers. Embarrassed from that incident I didn’t return to story time for a couple of weeks and I never saw this mom again. So even making friends at the library is tough when you are in introvert like me.
I found a mom’s group and started attending that. I thought this would be a nice way of making friends. It was nice to get out and meet some other moms. It was hard though to really connect with anyone because my oldest son at this time was walking. When I mean walking, I mean running away from mom ALL.OF.THE.TIME! He loved to explore, and was very active. He never stayed in one place, and would be climbing to the top of the highest play sets if I would have let him. Sitting around and chatting while enjoying a cup of coffee and making friends really never happened. I wasn’t being a helicopter parent either, but this boy had no fear! He would walk right off the edge of the play set if I wasn’t there. He also tended to throw things at kids, and he would bite.There were several kids that he just had to have a taste of. I couldn’t just let him play and I constantly had to keep an eye on him. I started feeling like the worst mom ever because my kid didn’t act like their kids. So I stopped going.
To share or Not?
Whenever I meet new people, there’s always that moment of do I share that we adopted or not. People react in different ways, and sometimes I don’t feel I need to share everything. It’s not that I mind sharing at all. I love to tell our story, but I’m a mom and these are my kids…..period. But of course birthing stories come up, or I get different questions about my children’s personal traits or about my daughter being born prematurely. So when these things come up I feel I have to share. Even though I am a mom, I am still not a member of the “how I gave birth club,” or “why don’t your boys look anything alike club,” or “where does your daughter get those beautiful eyelashes from cause it ain’t you, club.” These “clubs” are still unattainable and hard to get into since we didn’t have biological children. I wouldn’t change it for anything, I just didn’t expect it to be that way.
There are also different reactions I get when I share the news that we adopted. Some people can’t believe that they are all adopted or don’t know what to say at all. Some people say “wow how awesome of you to do such a thing, you saved them!” like there should be an award or something. Yep, we’ve adopted, I am no better than you because we did, and these children have blessed ME more than I could ever imagine possible.
Having a child with special needs also adds another layer of complication that not everyone understands. My schedule is FULL of therapy and doctor appointments. I am one that tends to roll with it, especially with working around all of her therapy. My third child has taken plenty of short naps in the car so that the other two can go to the zoo, play soccer, or have a playdate. Having a child that has extra needs makes it hard to do all the things that other kids can do, and we aren’t as portable either with a wheelchair. As simple as meeting up at the playground and letting the kids run around and play while the moms watch and chat. I can’t do that. My daughter wants to do what everyone else is doing. Who helps her do it? Me. I want to help her do it, but not always. Don’t get me wrong I love being able to help her do things, but it’s hard to always have to do it with her and for her. Sometimes I just want to let my kids go play. So being a special needs mother plays a role in making friends.
So making friends takes time for me, and probably for many people as well. I know I need to give it more time. It’s only been about nine months, and most of those months were winter months. I just long for the comfort of home and good conversation with people who knew me before kids, that know my stories, and love me even still in spite of it all. I know God will bless me with new friends and in His timing. These trials help bring me closer to Him because I know in all things He is my greatest friend. He is that friend that never leaves my side whether my heart is heavy, sad or bursting with happiness. So that’s what I’m going to do today, lean on my Friend that is always there, and I hope you will too.