Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Six of us moms were sitting in a restaurant sharing memories and photographs of our now adult children and catching up with each other’s “golden years.” Although 33 years have passed since we met in kindergarten (our children’s, not our’s), we remain connected, like extended family, helping each other navigate life’s ups and downs. The caring and support I’ve received while dealing with Parkinson’s disease and now cancer has been overwhelming. These friends drive me most everywhere we go, reserve driveway parking for me when I drive myself, bring meals, send flowers and cards, and regularly check on me to see how I’m doing.
Over the course of a lifetime, the average American will live in 11 houses and make nearly 400 friendships. Of the latter, we are likely to maintain about 33, only a handful of which will be considered close friends. Each time we uproot and relocate our lives, we lose close personal relationships and strong, social networks that help us handle stress and adverse events.
When we moved into our current house in 1981, our sons were ages six months and three years. The neighborhood was filled with ready made friends for them and for us, as we shared many common interests and experiences. When our oldest started kindergarten, the moment was captured and frozen in time in a newspaper photograph entitled, One last kiss, which still hangs in my office. It was a year of many unexpected firsts for us newly minted stay-at-home moms, who depended on each other to get by. We walked our children to and from school, and enjoyed moms’ breakfasts while our younger children were in pre-school. This was the nerve center where we planned activities to bring us together.
As our children aged, many of us moms returned to careers we had temporarily left behind. Get togethers became increasingly sporadic and we allowed ourselves to drift apart, the final blow coming when our children went away to college. Years later, someone suggested the group reconnect over dinner, and the rest is history. This year marks the Pleasant Hill Moms fifth anniversary. The more time we invest in friendships, the more valuable they become. A lucky person has a couple of close friends in a lifetime. They are the glue that holds us together.