WHAT MAKES A GOOD FRIEND?

No one can live alone in this world; or at least no one truly wants to.  Everyone needs a friend. We need friends in our lives who can help us when we are in trouble, who can stand by us through the hard times and put an arm around us and comfort us when we cry, who can cheer us up when we are frustrated and who can be there to laugh with us during the good times. Good friends are often hard to find because they have diverse qualities such as: knowing how to listen, being good confidants, always speaking with truth, making time for you, and knowing how to AND forgiving any faults committed.  True friends step up to the plate and they come from a place of compassion instead of a judgmental one.
To be a good friend does not mean to be with a person just in the good times, but in the bad times, as well.  That’s where the weight of the friendship lies. To be a good listener definitely pays off, especially when you need to help your friend with any issues he or she may have.
In addition to what was described above, a good friend needs to know how to keep a secret and be discreet.  Sometimes it happens that one friend is sincere enough to speak the truth, and the other does not want to accept the constructive criticism the other is saying, and that causes serious problems within the friendship.
I believe those who are fortunate to have real, true friends should take a minute to be grateful and realize just how lucky they are.  Do not have perfect expectations and/or try to change the other to fit what your idea of a friend is.  There will not be any reasons to “change” a true friend…never.  Accept each other for who we are and maybe we can grow from one another and the quirks that once bothered or annoyed you so much just may be what makes you miss that person when they are no longer around.

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Don’t Grow Up Too Much So That You Lose Your Inner Child

I often wonder will I ever find happiness like I had when I was a little girl.  The kind of happiness that came about when you got together with all of your friends and celebrated your birthday. Or when you caught your first lightning bug, or as some know it, as a firefly.  Or when you got your first shiny new bicycle and even more when you no longer needed the training wheels. How about when you would go for ice cream with your parents or grandparents on a summer Sunday afternoon after having a field day of fun playing ball in the park, swinging, sliding and let us not forget the sandbox. One of my favorite times was getting together with friends and playing all of the kids’ games such as ‘Mother May I’ , ‘Red Rover’, ‘London Bridge’, ‘Marco Polo’, ‘Freeze Tag’, ‘Simon Says’…. just to name a few. And Christmas was a blast!  I would eat most of the cookies I made for Santa, so I had to make an extra batch for safe keeping. I thought I would never be able to sleep Christmas Eve with all of the excitement and anticipation I had for Santa’s visit. Although my mother warned me not to look out of the window for Santa, I clearly remember doing so anyway. I never saw him, but I thought for sure I heard the sleigh from a distance and that was enough for me. In to bed and under the covers I went…pretending to be asleep until I did not have to pretend anymore.

I remember going rollerskating at the skating rink in town on Saturdays and skating all day long without getting tired. I remember sleep overs or slumber parties and staying up telling ghost stories or talking about boys all night long. Growing up an only child, I would find “fun” in so many things. Whether it was the pretend class and I was the teacher or riding my bike with the basket in front where I would fill it with odds and ends consisting of rocks, sticks, 3-leaf clovers, dandelions, etc.  I would pretend all of these items were groceries. Although I never liked getting “dirty” or playing in dirt when I was a kid, I loved being outside and climbing trees, turning cartwheels or pulling my dogs around in the wagon and accidentally flipping them over many times (they never were hurt).

I remember wanting to be like my dad. He was my hero then and still is. One day he was mowing the grass and , only when he did outdoor chores,  did he use chewing tobacco and drank a cold beer. As he mowed the lawn, there I was right behind him mowing with my plastic lawnmower. He took a break and had that beer and a dip of chewing tobacco and I had my beer (which was lemonade) and when he turned away,  I thought I would try the tobacco, too. The thing was I did not know I was not suppose to have swallowed it, so it ended with me getting so sick. The next time I was set, because my mother bought me raisins and told me the next time I copied my dad when he used the tobacco for me to use the raisins instead. That way if I swallowed them, it would not matter as I would not get sick.

I remember my first bicycle crash. Nearly split my left knee open. I was so scared when my mom told me I may need stitches. I did not need them, thankfully …we were tough back then.

I remember going to see the premiere of Grease and loved it so much that I bought the album that night and went to see it again and again every chance I could.  By the second time, I knew all of the words to the songs by heart!  I remember the first album I purchased ever was Kiss’s ‘Destroyer’ album (loved ‘Beth’).  My first crush was a tie between Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett.  I also liked Bob Denver (Gilligan) quite a lot, too, but more on a “wanting to hang out and play with” level.

This is just a few of so many memories I have of growing up and not knowing what depression, real sadness, heartbreak, disappointment or even a headache felt like. We have to grow up; that none of us can change. We have to become responsible and stable. We have bills to pay, kids to raise, businesses to manage or work for. We have to stand on solid ground and be able to stay there. We could go through each day saying “Oh woe is me”, but that does not change a bad situation into a better one. Action does and action only. I have had times in my life when I was dealt the worst hand possible, but because of my upbeat attitude, I have managed not to let my spirit become broken….wounded at times, but never broken.

I feel we all must not forget what it was like being a child when we take on the responsibilities of adulthood. The above stories were part of my childhood memories.  Some of you may share them or you most likely have your own, but they exist in everyone. So the next time things are getting you down or traffic is backed up putting you behind an hour or the dog poops on the white carpet or you stub your toe in the middle of the night on the corner of the table, take a minute to think of just one or two thoughts of your childhood and of a happy time and see if that might help. It may just put a smile on your face or maybe even cause you to chuckle out loud. Nonetheless, it will change the dynamics of the mood.

I try to protect my spirit from becoming broken by welcoming my “Little Ella” when the responsibilities of adulthood try to overwhelm me.
E.L.   5/23/11

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