Lots of Pieces in April
Friday RoundUp: Quick Edition

Wanna Play?

Remember when you were a kid. . . and you found a new kid somewhere?  At school, in your neighborhood, in the park?  You could just walk up and ask, "Wanna play?"  And you could be friends.  Or you could join a group of kids already playing somewhere by asking, "Can I play, too?"  And they'd usually let you join in.  Friendship is pretty simple for kids -- at least, it is until puberty sets in.

But then, as you move away from the playground, it becomes a little more tricky to just. . . join in.  Or, at least, it was for me.   My family moved - right as I was beginning junior high school - and I lost all my childhood friends just as I was entering the Puberty Tunnel (where you enter as one person. . . and exit as someone else altogether).  While I ended up with plenty of "situational friends" (you know -- swim team friends, science class friends, lunch table friends), I didn't have a group of "best friends."

Holland with ann 002

In fact, that would sum up the rest of my life.  Plenty of "situational friends" . . . but no real core group of "best friends."  And I was fine with that.  I had groups of friends anywhere I went --  and I had Tom, and my Mom, and my sister for the Real Stuff.

But something happened when I got cancer.  Most of my "situational friends" (hockey moms, choir moms, gym pals, neighbors) . . .  weren't in my "situation."  They remained supportive --- from a distance.  Several "situational friends" even faded from my life entirely.  At first, I was upset by this, but then I came to understand that not everyone - and especially friends that are really just on the periphery of your life to begin with - is able to deal with someone with a heavy, dreaded disease.  So when I was in treatment, I hunkered down with my family.  We kept close.  I remained private.  It worked for me.

Holland with ann 006

Cancer changed me in a lot of ways, though.  I would never say that having cancer was a "gift" (I Hate It when people say that. . .), although it has certainly been a catalyst for me.  I see things differently; I act differently; I think differently now.  I'm much more apt to speak up, act out, take a bite, smile at strangers, and. . . ask people if they. . . "Wanna Play?"

And, somehow, I'm attracting people who do.

Holland with ann 008

I have more friends - real friends; not just "situational" - than I have ever had in my life before.  The funny thing. . . is that most of these friends didn't know me BEFORE I had cancer!  They didn't know me with my old hair.  Lots of my new friends are dealing with cancer or other issues themselves.  Somehow, we're drawn to each other.  We've become a "posse."  We support each other, we share stories, we laugh, we gossip, we cry.  Most of all though, we remind each other that. . . there's a lot of life to be lived for all of us!

Holland with ann 018

My post today includes photos of my friend, Ann.  Ann begins chemo treatments for her breast cancer tomorrow.  We spent a day together earlier this week in Holland -- shopping for cool jewelry and scarves for Ann; checking out the tulips; freezing in the gusty wind at Lake Michigan; visiting a knitting shop.  It was a glorious day.  And it all came to be. . . because I asked Ann if she wanted to play.  And she did.

Holland with ann 020

That's what friends are for!

Comments

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denise copeland

Kym,
I so much appreciate your writing because your actions reflect wisdom and grace.
Thank you for a beautiful post.

margene

Real grrlfriends only came along during my 40 and into my 50s. I felt it was because that's the age you start accepting who you are and stop playing girl games. Last year when I went through my health crisis my friends were beside me (even if they were cross-country) and I saw true friendship in action. Sending good healing thoughts and prayers to your friend Ann.

Marilyn

You find out who your real friends are when the big things happen in life. Sometimes they come from the most unexpected places!

I hope things go well for Ann.

Melissa G

Wow! Not only did I move just before Jr. High, but then again 2 years later AND I switched schools between 9th and 10th. So yeah, my husband, mother, and sister hear the stuff I need to vent while the after-school-moms, book club, and workmates get the glass-half-full me. All I can say is thank goodness for yoga and blogs.

That tulip is amazing--sunrise colors, perhaps perfect for Ann. Please relay my very best wishes.

Cookie

What a wonderful post. Thank you. I'll b thinking of your Ann and keeping my fingers crossed.

xo

Jan Kemp

Hi Kym,
I just saw your post and wanted to tell you about an incredible program called The Cancer Project. This non-profit offers Nutrition Education and Cooking Classes for Cancer Prevention and Survival.

Your beautiful pictures were from Holland, but I'm not sure if you live on the West side of the state. We do offer classes out there. I am in the Ann Arbor area and have classes in this area.

There is a lot of free information along with recipes, research, and support through this national program at www.cancerproject.org that your may be interested in reviewing and my site is www.cookingtokickcancer.com.

I hope you find this information helpful.
Jan

thea

Best of luck to Ann. She's lucky to have a friend like you! Lovely post.

Sharon

A very touching post. Ann is lucky to have you in her life--you "understand" Most of my good friends I've made later in life too. Internet friends have become "real" friends!

Vicki

What a great friend and playmate you are!!! Best wishes to Ann!

Michelle

It is so true that when God closes one door He opens another! What you have suffered, endured, and overcome is incredible and inspiring. You seem to have a passionate zest for living. I am lucky to have gotten a chance to know you (albeit cyber-know you)!

Pam

A lovely, thoughtful post. All the best to Ann as she begins chemo (yuck, I say, but it's for good). Also, a bit advice no one gave me -- chemo is a time for simple knitting. ;-)

kmkat

Keep playing, and keep Ann playing along as much as she is able. All my best wishes to her.

Kimmiekat

My goodness, isn't it funny how people's blogs reflect our own lives? We finally stopped moving 8 years ago so that our two boys could put down roots for high school, after 17 years of moves back and forth across the country for hubby's career. When my parents passed away, and I had a major crisis on top of that, I started to change the way I talked to people; maybe I was less reserved since I figured, what's the worse that could happen after all that? Now I have a great group of girlfriends, most 5-10yrs older than me, but I am an old soul who's a bit ahead of her peer group in terms of life events. These women are fantastic- no pressure, no talking behind my back, there when you need them. I am so glad you have found something good out of the bad too! Perhaps we've finally figured out our value too.

Carol

Many of us are in the same friend situation. It's tough to 'mom date' until you find others you really like. Best wishes to Ann on the tough road ahead.

Diana Troldahl

Boy do I get it! I lost many friends, some of whom were not on the periphery when I could no longer go out and play with them.
I have a few new friends, and lots of online buddies, and slowly I am more able to go out and play.. maybe new friends will come for me, too.

Diana Troldahl

And I forgot to say, Sending good thoughts for Ann.

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