Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Beautiful Gift

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Beautiful Gift

Article excerpt

my friendship with Stacey has taught me about the goodness in people and that even though we had not seen each other in so long, we were able to reconnect and still learn from one another. She has learned how special Broden is and the happiness he brings to our family.

I hate goodbyes. Around

10 years ago, I had to say goodbye to a close friend of mine at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. My friend, Stacey, was one of those special friends that you are lucky to find while you are on your military journey. We worked together in the same office, we shopped together, and I would even spend the night at her house when both of our husbands were off training so we could keep each other company. During that time, we did not have children and had been hopeful that we would be parents some day.

Sadly, Stacey moved away when I was pregnant with my oldest son, Hayden, and then we would soon learn that she became pregnant with her oldest daughter weeks later. We, of course, did not say goodbye. We said, "See you later" because it was too difficult to think we would never see each other again. Over the past 10 years, we slowly grew apart. My husband deployed from Alaska and they moved to Fort Polk, and then to Fort Campbell.

You can only imagine my surprise when my husband called me from Afghanistan and said, "Stacey is moving to Fort Hood in a few months. You will be reunited with your shopping buddy!" In the beginning, I was so excited and then nervous. I've changed so much. Are we going to get along like we used to a decade ago? Then I looked over at Broden. How would Stacey and her two daughters respond to my boys? My hope was that she would be very understanding with Broden, but a person can change so much in 10 years.

I still remember the first time I saw her. She knocked on my door and gave me a huge hug. She kept telling me that she was so glad that we could get to know each other again and catch up. My oldest son, Hayden, pulled the girls into our house and dragged them upstairs. They were instant friends. I was thrown off with Stacey's next question, "Where's your youngest?" I reminded her that Broden has autism and that he was upstairs and preferred not to be around all the craziness. …

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