Friends are amazing – long term friends, short term friends, friends you see only at work, friends you see once a year, friends of the family, friends who live close, friends who live far. “Friend” is one word that is really indefinable – it can expand or contract to cover any number of different people in your life at one time or another.
I generally tell people that I don’t have a lot of friends – life is easier that way, really. I don’t feel obligated to help a bunch of people move or to invite a whole lot of people over for brunch or even feel as though I have to talk to a myriad of friends on the phone or communicate with them via email. I have just enough friends – some whom I almost never see and some who I see on a regular basis. Some with whom I have a great deal in common and have known for what seems like forever and some who I am only still just getting to know. All of them are important in different ways and each of them offers me something that I can’t get from anyone else…whether they know it or not.
One friend who I don’t know quite as well as I would like is Kat. I know a lot about her and her life and her husband and her son, Max – pretty much all through her blog. But as far as friendships go, the two of us haven’t even scratched the surface yet, although I have a feeling we will in time.
Recently, Kat’s son Max was diagnosed with Autism, and when I first found out it was a complete shock. Max is only two months older than Leith…so you do the math I was doing in my own head. I know quite a bit about the Autistic Spectrum; I’ve met kids with the diagnosis and worked closely with them and their parents. That next week I searched my own still non-speaking child’s face for signs I had been hoping would not appear in any child. I was over-reacting and Leith soon after started speaking (I think he was saving his speech until he knew he could really irritate us with “WHY” and “CUZ” and “NO” and “BANANA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS”) and there were no other remote signs. But Max didn’t get better. Max got worse.
Kat and her husband have ridden the storm with him and he is thankfully doing quite well now. Kat, on the other hand, is up to her armpits in legal mumbo-jumbo trying to get funding for her sweet child to have treatment for his diagnosis.
A few Christmases ago, Kat and I decided to do a “sweets exchange” with each other. My decadent Peppermint Bark for her tantalizing Cranberry Almond Bark (shown above). I have to say it was one of the nicest gifts I received that year and I savored each and every one of those delicious cranberry almond chocolate shards. Friends can indeed come in handy – especially friends like Kat.
Right now Kat needs some support…and couldn’t we all at one point or another? So if you want to support a friend, please go to Mabel’s Label’s and vote for Fickle Feline 2.0 (voting closes Feb 23rd at noon) to send this amazing mom of an autistic boy to Chicago so that she can continue to advocate for funding for Autism through her blog.