I really struggled with landing on a topic for the blog this week. I tossed a couple of ideas around in my head. One of them very serious and one of them much more light hearted and fun. Okay then…fun it is!

I have several girlfriends that I have known forever; as in, since kindergarten. We have remained close throughout our lives and we make efforts to see each other – all together – whenever possible. It doesn’t happen as much as we would like. Pesky things like careers and families being demanding and all, sometimes it is a challenge. Add in the fact that we are scattered from Arizona to Ohio and logistics can be somewhat of a nightmare. Recently we were having a dialog that originated on Facebook, but graduated to group texts. One thing led to another and next thing you know we have planned a weekend retreat to Chicago. Reservations have been made; tickets have been purchased; and, the commemorative t-shirts are on their way to my home as we speak (we really embody the “go big or go home” attitude).

What’s my point (because there really should be a point)? Well, my point is that relationships take some work. Maybe not laborious work (because I’m pretty sure none of you will feel sorry for all the “work” I’ll be doing in Chicago with these six lovely ladies), but they do take time and energy. Commitment. Honesty. Respect. Honor. Patience. Kindness.

Oh my goodness, this is starting to sound like the Lundy activity from Chapter 1. Happy Day ☺

In all seriousness though, when I am doing a workshop and I am talking to people about the importance of building healthy relationships I am passionate about it. Because I get to live it every single day. How lucky am I? I have these six awesome friends. I have my very best friend, who is more like a sister than a friend (I’ve actually written about her before). I have my enormous extended family (cousin #69 is due any time now) that I get to see on a regular basis. I know where I come from and I know where I belong. If I were musically inclined, there’s probably an awesome song in there somewhere!

Then I take a step back and I think of some people to whom I have provided services. Luckily there were many people who had loving families – big and small – that they belonged to. Moms and dad; brothers and sisters; nieces and nephews; and, really great friends. Unfortunately though, there were also some people who didn’t have those strong family connections. The majority of their relationships were with us paid staff members. I know firsthand how just the right person can be my lifeboat when I feel like I’m drowning in the madness of life. I’ve said it before in my workshops and I’ve used the imagery of drowning to illustrate how important good healthy relationships can be for the people in our care.

My friends have been my lifeboat many times in the past and I’m sure they will serve as such in my future as well. I just hope we don’t need any actual lifeboats in Chicago.

Nikki Wince – Mandt Faculty Supervisor