On Wednesday, I went into town to visit with my Dad, who is 91, and now lives in the Old Folks' Home.
I was sitting with him, when suddenly, one of the ladies who works there turned to me, and greeted me with a lovely smile. I was a bit taken aback - usually, people happily ignore me in town (large family, Catholic, homeschooling and all that: I have the 'weirdo' label, and am considered the social outcast). However, she started chatting, asking how we were, etc., and then asked if we were still homeschooling. When I replied in the affirmative, she proceeded to invite our family to come and sing some carols with the people in the home in two weeks' time.
We have sung at the homes a few times now, and it is lovely to be asked for these things, however, I admit to feeling a little deflated - I felt as if I was only worth talking to when people want something of me, but no matter - we, of course, are delighted to help out.
I finished my visit, and Bill and I headed down to the local store, and picked up a few things. As we were leaving, another lady spied us, and greeted us with a loud, 'Hello my lovelies!' - throwing her arms out in a loving gesture. Now admittedly, this particular lady will always stop and say hello, and we've known her a long time. So jokingly, I said, 'Uh-oh! Nobody talks to us unless they want something - look out!'. She replied with something like, 'Oh, I'm sure that's not true - but since you mention it...' and proceeded to ask us to help out with the local town carols!
Once again, of course we're happy to be involved, and to help out. But sometimes, I'd really like to be greeted in the local street 'just because' I'm there. Yes, it happens on occasion, but for the most part, I feel shoved aside, ignored, and treated as if I just don't exist. Now, that probably has something to do with the fact that I had no friends in this town growing up, and that I was 'that' child in the class who was constantly picked on and bullied, but nevertheless, that's the way it is. (Why am I still here? you ask. Simply put - my parents need me)
However, I did not come home saddened. Over the past few years, we've had the opportunity to travel to various places, and I have been fortunate enough to meet some wonderful people. I now claim to have those few, close friends that I never had previously - sure, I have to travel a fair way to visit with most of you, but you are there. When we had problems during in the year, you were there, in cyberspace, and with just an email or a message, I received your support and friendship. And of course, we do get to see you from time to time, and that time is very precious.
So, to my friends - those interstate, and those here in SA, I say thankyou. Thankyou for being there. You'll never know how much you mean to me, or how much you've helped me. Thankyou for simply being my friend.