I FREAKING LOVE stories like this: → Click HERE for 50 seconds of feel-good video! ← Such good kids, making a difference! 🙂
There is something that tugs at my heart strings more than anything, when it comes to kids/teens not having friends.
When I was young, the friends that I had saved my life. Moving from one country to another in the middle of my first year in high school, as a pre-teen, it was difficult. I didn’t speak the same language, I wasn’t used to the same customs, and I certainly stood out as this skinny, frail, sad looking pale white girl, in a group of people who were anything but that.
I STILL remember the very first time one of them asked me to come sit with them at lunch. As an adult today, remembering how my younger self felt at that moment, makes me tear up a little, not gonna lie.
My home life wasn’t easy. We moved so many times, I need more than just my two hands to count each house we lived in while I was in high school. There were times when we didn’t have electricity, or running water. Or even food.
Those times, my friends were my escape. Sleepovers, warm lunches at their house. Rides to the movies, to birthday parties. To school. And not once, did any of them ever make me feel less than, or not good enough. They never critiqued my clothes, or made fun of my hair, or brought up my home life. They gave me makeovers, let me borrow their stuff. I was never bullied, it just wasn’t even a thing.
When I needed it most, they opened their doors. Literally. At 12, I would walk to my friend’s house after school almost every day, and learn all about boys, hair, teenage puppy love and other things I won’t mention in case her mom reads this. At 14, I basically lived at one friend’s house, her mom picking me up nearly every weekend. I moved out on my own with one of my other friends when I was 17. It wasn’t always easy, but I owe so much of what I was able to do, and where I was able to take my life at that moment to her, her sister, and her mom.
All this allowed me to grow into the person I am today. Someone who will walk into a room by herself without fear. Who wears what she wants because she wants to. Who will walk up to just about anyone and start a conversation.
I owe my confidence and spunk to the very people who invited me over to have lunch with them that first time, under the Kwihi Tree.
And then never stopped being my friends.
Growing up, my life was hard, and immensely amazing at the same time…a wonderfully weird combination of shit I make sure my kids will never go through, and shit I hope they get to experience for themselves one day. Like being in the company of people who don’t judge.
And now as an adult, when I see someone by themselves…at a party, at a conference, at a friend’s house, I invite them over. Because that feeling of wanting to belong to something, of wanting an ‘in’ so you can let your real self go wild, that never really goes away, does it?
And to me, you CAN sit with us.
I teach my kids to do the same. To keep an eye out for that one person who sits alone at recess, and to invite them over to come eat and play with them instead. And to ask them questions, include them in the conversation, let them open up.
Because they don’t know, that person might one day look back on that very moment and realize it was what helped them become who they were really meant to be.
↑ Old friends ♥
↓ New old friends ♥
↑↓ So thankful for the friends I had growing up…they allowed me to become the DGAF, let’s-have-a-good-time, don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-haircolor person I am today. 🙂