Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

Everyone Needs a Best Friend


Nurturing and cultivating friendships is a vital part of growing up, but for some children, making friends may not come easily.

When we moved into a new neighborhood, my daughter Gabrielle definitely struggled. When we saw a group of children her age playing we immediately went over to introduce ourselves but the kids ran away. Gabrielle ran after them but when she couldn’t catch up she burst into tears. It broke my heart to see her hurting! But there wasn’t anything I could do. I didn’t know how to make the neighborhood children like her and want to be her friend.

But it turns out she didn’t need me to make anyone be her friend. Last summer Bailey came into my daughter’s life. Because of Gabrielle’s special needs, I needed someone to be with her during the week while I was at work, and Bailey gladly accepted the position. A week later, I received a text message from Bailey:  

“I do not think of Gabrielle as a ‘job.’ She has become a good friend and I am glad I am spending my summer with her.” 

I was overwhelmed! My daughter had made a friend who appreciates her for who she is, not what she can or cannot do.

Bailey exposes Gabrielle to the teenage experiences that I can’t: trying on dresses at the mall, laying out at the pool, playing guitar and piano together, rocking out to country music, painting fingernails and braiding each other’s hair. Bailey even took Gabrielle to a festival on her day off, and the two of them had a blast dancing to music and riding rides. Hearing the two girls giggle has been music to my ears!

When Bailey left for college last August, she promised Gabrielle she would stay in touch and true to her word, Bailey continued to be a part of Gabrielle’s life through phone calls and Skype. When she came home for the holidays, Bailey introduced Gabrielle to her college friends and they all whisked Gabrielle away for lunch or ice cream.

According to Bailey,

“Gabrielle may be different in many ways; she may need my help to walk and care for her when she has a seizure, but most of all she needs my friendship and I need hers. Gabrielle isn’t just a job; she is like family to me now. I don’t care for her because it’s what I’m paid to do. I care for her because I love her. She has helped me more than she will ever know. She has taught me selflessness, patience and most of all, unconditional love.”

Everyone needs a best friend. Or should I say a Bailey?

– Diann

11 thoughts on “Everyone Needs a Best Friend

  1. Your words touched my heart…thank you for sharing.

  2. ah, gave me chills reading it. That’s so sweet and inspiring!

  3. I love this post. thank you for sharing

  4. Diann- what an amazing talent you have. I love reading about some of the struggles you have faced it makes me feel less alone in knowing someone else shares some of the fears/concerns I do. Michael needs a Bailey too. Perhaps another blog could be about sharing how to find a “Bailey”. And how about dealing with siblings.
    I’m so proud of you! Keep up the great work.

  5. Thanks for all your kind comments. I love sharing my personal experiences with you. Thanks for the ideas for future blogs.

  6. You are something else, my dear friend

  7. I keep reading this over and over and enjoy it more each time!

  8. Thanks Kim. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

  9. Truly inspirational, D. Just as Bailey and Gabrielle have made a lasting impact on one another, you do so with your gift of writing and sharing your parenting experiences. Would make an amazing book…