Shabby Miss Jenn

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On Being Thankful

Curtis and I have been living in our house for seven years.  One afternoon, we were driving around "dreaming" about owning a home together.   Having only lived in TX for about seven months, I was not at all familiar with the area.  Every weekend, home developers put out their marketing to help guide you to the new neighborhoods.  I just kept telling Curtis to "follow the signs".   I had no idea where we were, Curtis kept telling me we were going too far out, but the signs finally led us to the neighborhood that would become our home just four months later.

During our first two and a half years in our house, we quickly became fast friends with a few other families on the street.  We were known to "do it up" like no one else in the neighborhood when it came to social events.  On Friday and Saturday evenings, we could all be found in someone's driveway enjoying the weather while gossiping over a few beverages.  On Sunday evenings, we would often gather at someone's house for a potluck dinner while watching Sunday night television.  The kids on the street became "everyone's" children.  Our street quickly became a village.  We even named our group; BOSS--Bent Oak Social Society--after the name of our street.

Between the two of us, Curtis is definitely the social butterfly.  In fact, some of the neighbors didn't even think I really existed for the first few months!  I had just started my teaching job, and my idea of a fun Friday night was laying on the couch watching TV.  I slowly came out of my shell and began meshing with our new friends.  Living so far from home (VA), these new people started becoming like family.  But as with family, things and people can start getting a little too close for comfort!  Misunderstandings and hurt feelings are bound to happen within a close knit group of people.  BOSS has definitely had it's fair share of drama over the past seven years.  Months have gone by where there was little interaction between some people.  However, as it seems to go with family, when you've experienced certain things and events with people, there's a bond that is formed that is really hard to break.  We've all certainly been in the middle of the drama, but in the end, it's that drama that has helped form such a deep connection.

I honestly didn't realize that strong, unbreakable bond until Wade was born.  Not only did mine and Curtis' life change, but our street was affected forever.  Instead of celebrating Wade's life at the hospital, our friends held a prayer circle in someone's driveway.  Instead of everyone coming to see mom and baby, people were splitting their time between two hospitals--some came to visit me at one hospital, while others went to support Curtis and Wade at the children's hospital.  Instead of a bunch of home cooked meals, we were receiving gift cards to local restaurants so that we could quickly grab a bite to eat to and from visiting Wade.

This group of friends rallied like no other.  Wade became the "Baby of Bent Oak"--BOBO.  There was always someone willing to step in and hold him or feed him or even change him.  The outpouring of love for our family was astounding.
Baby of Bent Oak
Over the years, a few families have moved, and a couple more have joined the circle.   The ones who have left the neighborhood are truly missed in the sake of proximity, but continue to stay connected and still come to participate in the festivities.  In only seven short years, the people of BOSS have grown and changed so much.  We have celebrated, and unfortunately, mourned lives.  We have stood on the sidelines watching families grow apart and other families grow stronger.  We have battled illnesses, job losses, and raising kids:-)  We have walked through some of the toughest hurdles together.  It has not been without many tears and angry words, but somehow we've become better and stronger because of all of these situations.

Today, Curtis, Wade and I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of these friends.  Unfortunately, due to distance and illness, we were not able to be with family.  During the blessing, I briefly reflected on some of the above.  It's not uncommon for a family who has a child with a disability to be "left out" or "forgotten" as the years go by.  Friends sometimes pull away while the family slowly retreats into their "new normal" of raising this child.  While I can't say I am a stranger to loneliness or that my heart doesn't break when I see other kids Wade's age running around outside, I can say that our family is truly blessed that Bent Oak has fully embraced us and supported us during some of the darkest days of our lives.  And for that, I am forever grateful and thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you BOSS for becoming our extended family.
Family and Friends at Wade's Baby Dedication


Kelly in TX said...

What a great post! And what awesome friends! I'm so glad you have them! :)

Emily said...

Your VA family missed you guys; we always do when you are unable to travel. Knowing that you, Curtis, and Wade have such an awesome, loving BOSS family in TX makes it easier on us, too. Much love from us all!

Sandra said...

That is so wonderful! It is truly awesome to have "family" when you're away from home. Hugs to all of you this Thanksgiving weekend! :)