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  • Writer's pictureCassidy chergi

Birds of a Feather!

My mother tells the story of when I was little and the fears she had for my life living with a medical diagnosis. I remember her joining groups to network and learn from other families navigating life with a medically fragile child. Her biggest fear was always that someone would be mean to me and break my incredibly strong will. She tried to protect me, hand-picking playmates, and always jumped in at the slightest sign of trouble. Meanwhile, my father would sneak me into social situations overriding my mother's strict rules on avoiding germs, determined to give me a normal life! This almost always resulted in me getting sick and he would have to fess up while driving us to the ER. While her carefully planned playdates got me out of the house they never really resulted in a true friendship. In an attempt to give every ounce of her being(she is neurotic) to make my life as normal as possible she has always volunteered and participated in the CCHS family conferences. We have always been one of the first to arrive and I am always tasked with assisting in assembling the welcome bags. Mind you I have never minded since this always included other CCHS kids as well. This brings me to the "birds of a feather" concept. After a morning of filling canvas bags with various trinkets, all of the volunteering families gathered to have lunch. I was sitting at an almost full table( I was 10) when up walked this spunky little kid who took one look at me and told her father, no you sit with the kids I think I like this girl, I want to sit with her!!!!! And that was all she wrote! This amazing girl proceeded to talk to me as if we had always known each other. Her spunk was infectious and we bonded instantly. We didn't have to ask questions of one another or question why we had trachs. We just had to be!!! Just be together, just be kids, just be happy! Despite the distance( we live in different states), we are best friends! Whether it is good news or bad, she is the first person I call and vice versa. We just get one another! When I was having cardiac issues and my mother and I were in a battle over getting a pacemaker she is the one who convinced ( actually insisted) me to proceed with the procedure. I sometimes think we are so in sync we tend to get ill together. We have both laid on the couch with our ventilators on while face-timing one another and comparing the meds prescribed. We often cue one another to "get on your vent" or "check your sats your color is off". There is a certain solace in not having to explain your illness. I guess my purpose in making this post is for two reasons. Firstly, parents, we will find our people, stop stressing I would rather have one true friend over 10 "acquaintances". Secondly, we do find our people. I have an amazing group of friends. We might be an odd group, many of my friends tend to be a little different but we genuinely like each other and most importantly we have each other's backs. We build each other up and never tear each other down, and isn't that the true definition of a friend? I have chosen to surround myself with strong young adults who have a strong sense of self and genuinely value my friendship.

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