A recent conversation got me thinking that maybe I need to write a manual for being with Lizi. If you are her Facebook friend, you will know that she has been struggling with relationships and loneliness for the past few years. She longs for friendship, but often doesn’t know how to make it happen.
Occasionally Lizi invites herself to visit one of her out-of-town cousins. They have always been happy to have her visit, but not quite sure about planning for her visit. I usually tell them that Lizi really just likes being with people. She is quite happy to just be with someone, even if they aren’t talking or doing anything special. An occasionally trip to Kohls or Walgreens (or, back in the day, a Christian bookstore) will satisfy her need to “go,” which is minimal.
When I go out for a meal with her, I often bring a book. We’ll have a short conversation, and then she is happy to let me read. She will answer questions and ask a few basic ones herself, but mostly she isn’t much of a conversationalist and she doesn’t need you to be.
Remember side-by-side play? It’s basically like that. She is happy to go along, or not, but simply loves being with others.
Recently, the Mathiesons invited her to a dance recital that was taking place in Elmhurst. Aunt Linda and Uncle Larry often take her along on trips to the Arboretum or to free concerts in the area. They also watch TV and movies with her. Our old neighbors Lark and Alicia both are great about letting her simply hang out with them.
Lizi still has a couple more months of independence before likely moving in with us at the end of the summer. Currently, she stays with us Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning. She goes back to her apartment to work three (W-Th-F) lunch shifts and stays through Sunday morning, sometimes at a loss for things to do–or people to see. She especially likes the company of dogs and children (though admittedly, not all children know how to handle her.)
It’s really quite simple. Lizi 101.