Friday, January 9, 2009

Definitions of a True Friend

Shiloh and her husband Jesse on their 5th anniversary

What is a true friend? Someone you can laugh with, cry with, and hang loose with? Someone who knows the good and bad about you and still sticks around? Someone who you can let down your guard with, someone who you can call in the middle of the night, someone who is there for you? Someone who challenges you to grow and tells you the truth?

All of these answers describe some of the things we would like in a friend. Today, another phrase joins my list: someone who will defend you. I've posted about my wonderful friend Amy in the past and now I want to take this opportunity to post about an equally wonderful friend I have here in town named Shiloh.

Today we had an unpleasant experience at the pool. Jer was tossing a toy (even though I'd asked him not to toss toys) and just as I was calling out to him to not do it, it flew through the air and ended up hitting a mom and her 8-month-old twin baby. It didn't look like it hit that hard and was a total accident. One of those awful moments for a mom where your kid hurts another kid! The mom, who was a stranger to us, yelled "NO!" fiercely at Jeremiah, shocking the rest of us moms and making Jeremiah start crying. I immediately pulled him into time-out for a while, but no matter how much I asked him to go apologize he was terrified to do so and begged to stay in time-out. Since I was holding Justus and trying to keep an eye on the kids in the pool, I made the judgement call that I wouldn't force it since I was scared of the mom too and didn't want to go apologize either after her fierce reaction. She had moved over to a different section of the pool anyway. I later found out that she yelled at one of my other friend's kids a few minutes later as well as glaring when kids in the baby pool splashed her.

We were all trying to keep our kids away from her the rest of the time in the pool. Then, in the locker room she came up to me and brought up the incident and I apologized, but she went on, threatening me that if something like that ever happened again and I didn't make my kid apologize there was going to be a serious discussion. (Wait, weren't we already having a serious discussion? =) I was stunned that she was making such an enormous deal out of it. Was someone's swimsuit a little too tight or what? I know some of you may think of me as confident and opinionated, because I can be like that on my blog or with my family, but I am very passive, shy, and silent in confrontations with people, especially strangers.

This is where my friend Shiloh jumped in. Shiloh calmly and firmly defended us and though she didn't condone the fact that the baby had gotten hurt, she did explain that Jer was too scared to apologize and that I had tried to encourage him to do so. She said someday this mom would understand when her twins were toddlers. Shiloh is a mom of twins and so I felt like she had the authority as a "twin mom" to tell it like it is. She explained that someday this mom would deal with two-year-olds and that you can't control everything they do. Later, after I had left, Shiloh approached this angry mom again and apologized if she had offended her but wanted to reiterate that raising toddlers is tough. The angry mom's own mom, who helps her take the baby twins swimming, mentioned that her toddlers had never acted like that because she was strict. Shiloh replied that all kids are different and later thought she should have asked the grandma if her name was Mary since she had raised "perfect" kids! (It's so irritating when older folks forget these hard stages and tell you their kids never did this or that and they always had their kids under perfect control! But that's another subject....)

While I'm sorry all of this had to happen and ruin our fun swimming day, I was so blown away by the incredible way in which Shiloh stood up for me and defended me and my child. She didn't have to, and maybe the pregnancy hormones had something to do with it *s*, but she was amazing when I was too shook up to speak, and too humiliated to do anything. Then, to top it all off, she called once we had gotten home to check up on me and see how we were doing, knowing that something like this can be really upsetting. Indeed, these kinds of experiences as a mom make you feel like just bawling and tend to make me ditzy (I drove to our old apartment after swimming instead of to our new house!) Ultimately we both hope this woman comes to know the Lord and deal with her anger but the human side of us secretly can't wait for her twins to turn two and then three and for them to throw toys at other kids, maybe even our youngest kids!

I'm so thankful to have Shiloh for a friend! She is fun to be around, hospitable, and makes me laugh, as well as being honest, understanding, and willing to stand up for me when people are rude. We swap mom stories, share a love for couponing and chocolate, and since we attend the same church, have kids in preschool together, and our husbands are close friends, we see a lot of each other! We have a lot of differences, but I think our differences enrich our friendship and help us to think outside of the box. She is also the cleanest person I know (I'll never understand how her house looks perfectly clean and orderly when I drop by unexectedly whether or not she has newborn twins, is pregnant, remodeling, has twin toddlers, etc.) I know my kids are in good hands when she watches them and I know I could call her in the middle of the night if I had a need. Shiloh just had a birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday again!) and is looking forward to having a little girl in May and will join us in having 3 kids 3 and under!
Because Shiloh knows me pretty well, I am about 90% sure she told her husband that I'd probably be blogging about this today!
Thanks for being a true friend Shiloh!


Kristin said...

I can't believe that other mother!

What a great friend you have there to stick up for you and to just be the kind of friend you need day-to-day.

Shiloh said...

You are soooo welcome! I would do it again if I needed to! :) I love the friendship we have too and am so glad that we have each other to confide in and get advice from and to stick up for!

You know me too well! I laughed and laughed at your last line because I DID tell Jesse that I was pretty sure there would be a blog about it! ha ha! :)

Innocent Observer said...

I think that most likely the Grandmother was senile! If I had a way back machine I would let you borrow it to go back and tell her so!

Even if your little guy DID intend to throw the toy in her direction, he is TWO. When you have an infant two seems really old, but two year olds are just babies. Babies (toddlers, children) throw things. It's what they do.

I wish mother's could be nice to one another. Sigh.

Hopefully one of you will be in the grocery store when her "perfect little angels" prove that they are not. Ugh!

Thia said...

Unbelievable! I can't believe she acted like that! If that's the example she is setting,we can only imagine what her kids will be like. And then she'll know!

Lesley said...

Unreal! I think you and your good friend handled this situation really well and I agree with the others -- that lady might be more understanding when her kids are two. Yay for good friends! :)

Anonymous said...

I guess we don't really know if the woman was a Christian or not.

Probably best not to judge - perhaps there is more to her than we know, that might allow us to see the situation differently. Not to say that she was kind in her comments and behavior - but I think we've all, at one time or another, reacted in a way we wished we hadn't when it comes to our children.

The Three 22nds said...

I can kind of understand a "no" if it was just a startled reaction. But then when your little boy was crying...and then "discussing" it in the locker room?

She sounds really stressed.

As a mother of 3 active little boys, I am always on guard trying to make sure they don't hit people with things accidently. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it :)

C Blasdel said...

I'm so grateful that Shiloh has you as a friend too. Isn't it interesting how God uses people when we so don't expect it!!!!

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