Saturday, August 6, 2011

Surround Them With Caring Adults

While Kalisha always has me and her siblings, she is very fortunate to have other adults in her life who genuinely care about her. I think it is a great blessing and I thank God for these people.
People who are not related to her and are not her consultants or therapists and have no reason to "have" to like her, make her feel special and build her self confidence. Plus, they introduce her to different situations and ways of looking at things and different topics of conversation. (Sometimes, our conversations become a bit stale, because we talk about the same topics over and over.)
Obviously, you have to be discerning about which adults you allow your child to go with or associate with, but I think you can tell by their interaction with your child or young adult.

I want to tell you about some people in Kalisha's life, who are not related to her. A couple at our church, Carl and Marilyn are great! They have invited Kalisha to go bike riding with them and taken her out to eat. One evening, Marilyn called and asked if Kalisha would be Carl's date for a baseball game because she had to work late. Carl picked her up and several hours later, brought her home, with some souvenirs she had asked for. Later, I asked Kalisha about the game. She described the tables of food, and the glass windows where they sat, etc. I was totally unaware that they were going to Carl's annual business outing in the box seats. I was amazed and so impressed with Carl that he would take Kalisha and introduce her to his business associates. There are many people at church who make Kalisha feel important. Of course, there are many who try hard to avoid her, also.
Another great lady is Charlotte, the person who does Kalisha's hair. I don't even know her last name, but she teases Kalisha, laughs with her, gives advice and talks to her like any other client. Today, she permed her hair and then braided some Colt's blue extensions (which she brought from home) into it, because she knows how much Kalisha likes the Colts.   
Lisa is another very busy lady. She allows Kalisha to call her one night a week just to talk about stuff. Kalisha met her when Lisa's daughter and Kalisha's neice played volleyball together.
A young woman named Katie met Kalisha once a week for shopping or 'coffee' (Kalisha has hot chocolate) and just "hanging out." When she got married, she had Kalisha come to talk to her and see her in her dress  before she walked down the aisle. Another girl who is Kalisha's age picks her up and they have pizza or go to a movie or to the mall.
A friend of mine named Patti is also Kalisha's friend and has patiently listened to many of Kalisha's laments and concerns. Kathy is another friend of mine who knows just what to say to Kalisha. Sometimes Kalisha gives her a hard time, but Kathy gives it right back.
The manager at our local grocery who has known Kalisha since she was little and always answers her questions even if they are the same ones she asked last week and the week before that and the week before that.
I guess what I am trying to convey is this: Kalisha has now, and has had in the past, some wonderful people in her life; relatives, some teachers, therapist, case manager, consultants. I am very grateful for these people, but I am also very thankful for the people who don't have to like her, but do anyway, or the people who don't have to have a conversation with her, but they do anyway.

And, of course, on the other end of the spectrum are all of the despicable people that I obviously don't want her to be friends with.

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