As Mary was starting this year’s 31 for 21 challenge we had joked about me doing a “guest blog” spot at some point during the month. Then she did the post that took us back to two of her favorite posts from when she started this blog. One of those posts was from her first (and to this point) only Friendship Friday edition. The friend she talked about in that post is my sister, Christine. We thought it would be interesting to do the guest blog spot, but have me interview Christine to get her point of view on their friendship and that period when Mary and Justin learned of Riley’s diagnosis.
A friendship that shares everything...
Christine and Mary met at
, as Mary noted in the Friendship Friday edition. Christine recalls how crazy it was how instantaneously they hit it off and how thrilled she was to later find Mary in the same dorm. Looking back, for the short period of time they really had together – in the grand scheme of things – before Mary and Justin moved to Spokane, it really is spectacular, the bond that was forged in that time. Rocky Mountain College
Christine remembers participating in a walk at Rocky and she and Mary came in “dead last” simply because while they were walking, they were doing a great deal of talking. Their friendship became one where they told each other everything – and that’s just not something that happens everyday.
It had been quite some time since Christine had talked to Mary and she happened to call her the day Mary and Justin were going to the genetic counselor (following the confirmation the day before). Christine says she knew instantly that something was wrong, “I immediately thought they had lost the baby.” Because that’s where her thoughts went to right away, she remembers feeling relieved that it was Down syndrome – though she was scared for them. Mary remembers the support Christine provided in that conversation, while Christine simply says, “She talked…And I just listened.”
During that phone call, Mary told Christine of the book their doctor had given them, which she went out and bought so she could begin learning more as well. However…“The book was scary!” Eventually she had to stop reading “the scary parts,” because she couldn’t see worrying over things that might never be a part of Riley’s reality. Prayer was a constant factor throughout the remainder of this pregnancy – though prayer is a big part of Christine’s life in general.
Christine remembers how much she did not want Mary and Justin to go when they moved to
, but believes their location is a great blessing. To her, their being in Spokane with the Guilds’ School and the other resources is a great gift, not to mention the familial support they have there. She also loves hearing about the friends Mary and Justin have made through Riley. It’s wonderful to Christine that Mary has people in her life who can genuinely relate to her family’s experiences. That's not to say it isn't frustrating when things like the Buddy Walk come up and it's impossible to be there. Spokane
When asked about her ability to not say the wrong thing, so to speak, she shares that it’s important to her that she does more listening than talking, as people so often speak before they think.
All These Kids
We talked a little bit about “the guilt factor,” and Christine had this to say about it: “Yeah, you know, of course I’ve thought about it…I mean four kids, all healthy…What are the odds of these things? How does this happen?”
Although, you have to look to the positive, once Riley was born there was so much to be thankful for. With all the horror stories and possibilities the book had filled their minds with, to have this boy, this beautiful boy who did not have a slew of health issues…It’s a blessing. To have Mary and Justin do the amniocentesis when even in their minds they thought it was pointless…It’s a blessing. To have a brother who was so clearly meant to be Riley’s big brother extraordinaire…It’s a blessing. To move to
with a school built entirely around the concept of helping children with developmental disabilities…It’s a blessing. To have familial support that is so unshakeable…It’s a blessing. There are so many things to be thankful for. Spokane
When asked if she has ever specifically addressed Riley’s disability with her children, Christine notes she didn’t make a big deal out of it mostly because she didn’t think it was something her kids would really notice and she was following Mary and Justin’s lead with Rex. They were aware that there had been concerns for Riley’s health through their prayers for him, but outside of that, Christine has always said to them, “It might take him longer to get there, but he will be able to do everything you can.” She loves the Down syndrome Creed.
What does this friendship mean to you?
After a brief pause to formulate her words, this is what Christine has to say that sums up her friendship with Mary beautifully.
By being friends with Mary; she helped make me the person I am today. She brought me out of my shell...I might not still be the most outgoing person, but she brought backbone into my life. Looking at me, she went on to say, you might not see the difference, but part of who I am today, belongs to her.For me, there was something about Mary and Justin that, I think, for all of us it was as if they had always been in our lives. Perhaps it was the confidence my sister developed in herself through this friendship that made us love them or maybe it was just whatever “it” was that first time they met somehow filtered out to the rest of us. Whatever “it” is, we’re glad to have you in the family Kibbes.