I think I can count on one hand how many true friends I really have.
True friends care. They accept you for who you are. They see your true potential, and bring it out. They put up with you when you're going through crappy stuff and not only deal with your venting but also stand by you until they need you...even when you don't think you need anyone. They love you through thick and thin. They're there to celebrate with you in good times, and cry with you in bad. They may not always agree with your choices, but they give you their support.
My daughter, Jaimie, has one of these friends. When she started Kindergarten, she was terrified. Still in the middle of us trying to figure out how to help her with her SPD and Asperger's, she still couldn't communicate or want people around her.
Then she found Maddie.
She was the first person to approach Jaimie, and have enough strength and patience to interact with her. Their friendship was, and still is, beautiful and memorable.
Today's snippet is the Prologue to a middle school book I am dedicating to their friendship. Maddie inspired Jaimie to do things she never had done before: talk to other kids, get her hands dirty, go to Birthday parties, eat lunch at school, have me not have to be with her during the school day...
Even though Maddie had to move away, her presence is still felt and appreciated. I will always be grateful to her.
This book will be dedicated to her, and her everlasting friendship to Jaimie. (I may change their names as I edit out of privacy and respect, but here's the Prologue. Enjoy!
Hey! Welcome to Sweet Grass Elementary. Mrs. Baulkham told me that I’m your School Buddy. That’s just a fancy name they give to the kid that gets to show you around and stuff. No big deal. I don’t know why teachers give you these fancy names just to make a job sound fun. It’s so lame.
So, my name is Rita and you can sit right here with me for now, okay? Hang tight. I know everyone and all the stuff in the school so you got put with the right girl. Grade Four will be a breeze, trust me.
Are you nervous starting new? I bet it’s kind of scary being in a new place and starting in a new school. Then you have to make new friends too. That can suck. You know, it can be really tough making friends, especially when you’re a kid. Grown ups don’t ‘get’ that. They really don’t. They pair you up with someone, or put you together with someone, thinking because they all get along…that all us kids will too.
It doesn’t work a lot of the time. I mean, c’mon! I’m nine and my mom still tries fixing me up with other kids. It’s just so embarrassing. Just because I’m shy and sort of quiet doesn’t mean I can’t make my own friends, or that other kids don’t want to hang out with me.
I don’t need lots of friends.
I mean, like I said, I know everyone, but I like kids that play with the same stuff I do and don’t care that I just want to be quiet sometimes. You know, friends that are still there no matter what even when you do stupid stuff…or they do. That’s what I learned from Maddie and Jaimie.
You never heard of them? Seriously? Wow. I thought everyone knew about those guys because they were, like, famous. Well, in our school they were.
Oh, yeah, that’s right. You’re new, so of course you never heard of them. Duh! See? We all do crazy things sometimes.
Hey, I know. Why don’t I tell you about them while we’re waiting? It’s a pretty cool story. They taught everyone around here what a true friendship is, even when one person has something…special about them. And other kids also learned that there is never just one ‘right’ way of doing stuff.