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Sleepovers, not just for 8 year olds anymore!

I had my awesome, fantastic, outstanding, rocking good beach getaway with friends this weekend.

We always invite too many, then are disappointed because some can’t make it and it ends up being JUST the right amount of friends.

Being one who is fairly chatty and talkative…SHUT IT! I can hear you laughing!….I have never really had a hard time making casual friends.  I can small talk and chat it up with almost anyone.  But FRIENDS. Real friends. Those friends that you feel like you can call at 3 AM and cry and wail and share vulnerabilities are fewer and farther between.

I have a handful of really amazing friends that I dragged with me into this cancer world we became a part of.  Friends that I know will always hold a piece of my heart, the friends that you don’t have to speak to every day, yet you know the moment you talk, it’ll be as if time slipped away and you were never parted.

When Peyton was diagnosed I lost friends.  It was generally a lessening of contact, until it became glaringly obvious that they didn’t want my phone calls or emails or to have to hear ONE MORE TIME how overwhelmed I was.  I generously give the excuse that perhaps it was just too much for them, they didn’t know what to say and I had to forgive them for not being able to cope emotionally with the burden we had no choice of taking on.  Because you know what? It made me angry!  I was seriously irked that these people who called themselves my friends couldn’t stand by my family and me at our time of greatest need.  It was easy to be angry with them, they were a wonderfully convenient outlet.

Now, months out from that time, it still hurts that those people chose to exclude themselves from our lives.

But God provided the most incredible flood of people into our lives.  People who lived in the periphery of our lives stepped up and loved us.  People who were already friends became family.  Strangers embraced us and were strangers no more. We were blessed, we continue to be blessed every day, by these people who didn’t turn away from the turmoil that our lives became.

I could name names and turn this post into a book about the ways people have changed us through their kindness, love and faith.  But this post is about my “cancer mom friends”.

Yeah. That’s a great name, isn’t it?  The cancer moms.  Our club. It’s an exclusive club that no one wants to join.  We have a handshake and cookies.  It’s the crappiest club I’ve ever been a part of…and I was a member of Key Club AND FBLA.

Although I NEVER conceived that I would be thankful for a group of people with kids who have cancer, moms who spoke of their children in past tense, the tears and pain that would bind us together….I am.

Never to diminish the love and support and encouragement of my friends and family, because without them I would crumble, but there is nothing that compares to another person who GETS it.  IT is wordless and indefinable.  It’s the sharing of a look, a nod of the head, a hug that wraps you in the knowledge that there is understanding here.

My cancer mom friends understand what I can’t explain to someone who hasn’t been there.

When I say things like, “It just felt…so…so…I don’t know.”  They know what that is.

I can try to tell someone what it is to have a child with cancer, what that life feels like. I try hard to tell all of you, because I want you to know.  Yet, I know it’s always a failure.  It is impossible.

Tell someone who hasn’t had a child what labor is really like.

Make someone understand what you feel when you fall in love.

That’s how hard it is to define what it is to have a child diagnosed with cancer.

An explanation would require every word ever created in every language ever discovered and it would still be lacking.

So I hope that helps you understand what it means to me, in the deepest part of my heart, to have a circle of friends who understand my trademark brand of crazy.  Who chose to love me and be my friend at a time when I wasn’t loveable.

We ate.  We talked.  We laughed. Oh, did we laugh!  We stayed up too late.  We played poker badly.  We played Apples to Apples (which is a fabulous game, go get it NOW and wait for the post, because it deserves one all its own).  We talked about our kids, school, husbands, work, plans, hopes, and dreams. We drank everything that wasn’t nailed down a lot. There was chocolate. It was perfect.

I have pictures. I will be sharing them.  Well, some of them, I’ll be selective….to protect the innocent…. because I know there are some people who would CUT ME if I posted a few of those pictures.  * cough Renee cough *

6 Comments on “Sleepovers, not just for 8 year olds anymore!”

  1. #1 Brittany
    on Aug 25th, 2008 at 8:23 am

    This was a great post, and having friends like that is sometimes the only thing that keeps your head out of the oven, I am so glad you have them!

    Brittanys last blog post..Weekend Crap Up

  2. #2 lori astacio
    on Aug 25th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Hey A,

    I am so glad that you had a great time this weekend. Did you do shots for me? I am sorry for the friends that you have lost contact with over the past few years. I know that it must really hurt you. I also know that so many others are thankful that you are now a part of their lives, including me. You a such an amazing wife, mother, friend and so much more.

    Can’t wait to hear more about your weekend and see photos. Hope to see you tonight at the tile painting.
    Love ya,

  3. #3 Sarah Clapp
    on Aug 25th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I’m sorry you lost some friends because of this. I hope that I would never do that to someone I thought as my friend.

    Can’t wait to see the photos!!

    Sarah Clapps last blog post..Charlie Story of The Day!

  4. #4 Natalie
    on Aug 25th, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Sounds like Bon Qui Qui joined you on your trip! Glad you had a great time!!

    Natalies last blog post..Happy Birthday Shawn!

  5. #5 Kelsey
    on Aug 25th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    WOnderful post! So glad you had a wonderful time!

    Kelseys last blog post..::5 Things I Heard While Sewing This Dress::

  6. #6 Amanda
    on Aug 25th, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Anissa –

    I’m proud to be a “complete stranger” who has had the pleasure of meeting that amazing little girl of yours (I love your other children, lol … but Peyton … Peyton just reminds me of my Juliette)

    I’m sure if cancer had never come into your lives … we still would have met … but I know Peyton and your family wouldn’t have inspired not only the direction I want to live my life … but meeting Peyton and reading your struggles, I’ve learned to enjoy every fleeting moment with my child. Even when I want to kill her.

    (Tonight at dinner, I threatened to “hang her up by her toes” if she didn’t sit down and just eat the mac n cheese *for like, the 80th time this week*. Let me tell you, the look of pure fear on that child’s face, I’m pretty sure it surpassed the tabasco threat *which I now carry in my purse thanks to you and Chick-fil-a!*)