A Day With Friends

Jessie had wanted to get together with some friends. We chose this week because her friend Gracie was out for spring break. It’s not that often that I let her have more than one friend over at a time, so this was a real treat for her.

These. Girls. They’re a mess. I’m so grateful for the friendships Jessie has and how they continue to blossom into something beautiful.

About an hour before we met for lunch, I had gotten the news that we owe the IRS. It could be worse, but to us it’s a lot of money. It was weighing on me when we met at Chick Fil A to start our “girl’s day” as Jessie says.

I think it’s every day, but I’m not sure, that each employee taking orders can choose someone to bless with an act of kindness, a free meal. Jessie and I have been the recipients of this kindness one other time.

Today, there were 5 of us, and we were all treated to lunch! It couldn’t have happened on a better day. I had been looking at my bank account online right before we arrived and thinking about the whole tax thing. This random act of kindness just felt like a hug from God, a confirmation that he sees, he knows.

After lunch, we headed back to our house for a few hours.

Jessie has this game she has played with her dad (and sometimes her brother) ever since she was a toddler. Sometimes she goes in the closet, but most often she gets one of them into our walk in closet and turns the light off and cackles and cackles. It doesn’t happen quite as often now,  but it used to be a daily game they played.  Daddy makes a lot of fuss about, “Let me outta here!” and the like. The banter and negotiations go on for a while before she lets him out. It sounds a lot like the smack talk from the wrestling Jessie so loves to watch.

Well, Gracie was not fond of being in the closet with the light out. Jessie has done this once before, she always thinks it will be fun, but her friends think not so much. I think this time Jessie understood (afterward) that it really did upset Gracie and knows now that daddy is the only one she can play this game with. I know if tables were turned, and she were at a friend’s house, and hadn’t been there a lot, she wouldn’t think it was fun either. Sigh. Hopefully, she understands this now.

The girls just couldn’t get into a groove at first. Some wanted a movie; some wanted a tv show. Two of them wanted to sit in the only chair in Jessie’s room rather than on the bed. (The chair is more comfy and closer to the tv for tv watching.)  I suggested they could be more comfortable in the living room, but they wanted to watch in her room.  They were watching tv but seemed a little bored with it. I offered suggestions of games they could play but every suggestion I made was shot down.

After I helped with negotiations, the girls settled on a show, seating arrangements, and had something to color while watching. I think they had all seen the show before and were a little bored honestly. Once they had something to color while they watched, they chatted with the tv going in the background and had a good time until time to eat and go to church.

I share these details because I think it’s important in the conversations about Down syndrome that we be honest  These are NORMAL situations, but if we don’t share them it can look to other parents in the same phase that we don’t have any struggles.  It isn’t all just about Down syndrome either; I remember advising my older two with friend relationships, it just happened on a little different time line.  I see Jessie having the maturity to maintain friendships now, with a little parental oversight to help with compromises and negotiations over where to sit and what to watch 🙂

 

At church I was filling in as teacher for a friend. My preferred way to do the lesson is to go around the room and each teen read a portion of the scripture.

We were having a lesson from Luke 5 where a man’s friends carry him to Jesus. Because there’s a crowd, they lower him through the roof of the house, believing if they can get him to Jesus, he’ll be healed. Part of what we talked about was that friends help friends get to Jesus.

One of the guys in the class helped Gracie find the verse she was going to read.  I had helped Ashley find hers.  Jessie likes using the Bible app on her phone as it is easy for her to find the verse she’s looking for.

These 3 girls were in the class with other kids around their age. They each read a verse from our lesson, just like everyone else. Something about that just warmed my heart in a way that stayed with me the rest of the night.  I think some of the other teens might have been surprised that the 3 girls could all read so well.

At the end of class when I asked if any of the students would like to pray for the requests we had talked about, Jessie volunteered. Most kids in her class feel self-conscious about praying in the group but she doesn’t seem to.

As I reflect on this day with these three girls. I am thankful for many things.

Jessie’s friendships

  • I’m thankful Jessie has good friends. It has been a challenge to get to this point and I’m SO grateful for where we are now.
  • I’m thankful for the ways I see her continuing to mature to be a better friend. A couple of years ago, she would have struggled with the compromises I saw her make today without complaint. She understands that to be a good friend that’s what you have to do.

Jessie’s grateful heart

She thanked me for being a good hostess 😊. She said in roundabout ways that she appreciated having her friends over and the little ways I accommodated all of them. She appreciated that I took them to lunch, made food for supper that they liked and that I had bought and made them pink lemonade.

She has such a tender and grateful heart and that makes this mama really happy.

Jessie’s prayers

Almost every time she prays, she prays for people to come to know God. She says they need God. It doesn’t seem perfunctory, it seems to come from a place of understanding. I’m thankful for the simple and heartfelt way she prays for what people need most…to know God.

This week, let’s remember to be like the fellas from the Bible story and be confident about where all true healing comes from.   They knew Jesus was the answer and they helped their friend get to him.  After their friend was healed it says “And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God.”

And like Jessie, let’s be grateful for every little thing.

Till next week friends,

Josette

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