Thursday, November 7, 2013

there's beauty in the tough days

Dear Em,
It's hard to have a best friend who lives in Ohio when we live in Rhode Island. Especially now that we both have littles & would love to see our kids grow up together. We are very fortunate that our families have made the effort to come out & visit each other at least once a year, making it so we're able to get together at least twice a year. I'm not sure how it happens, but our visits somehow seem to coincide with a time when one or both of our kids is sick. It makes for times together. Aunt J & little T came out to visit us a couple weeks ago, so of course both you & T ended up going to the pediatrician...but that's the end of the story. I'll start at the beginning.

The last time we went to Ohio, T was just over a year old. He was starting to say some words & slightly frightened of the way you bound across rooms with arms flailing & the loud way you shout almost everything. While you two played nearby each other, you weren't really able to play together yet. Aunt J & I were excited about this visit. T had been talking up a storm & we couldn't wait to watch the two of you interact.

When Aunt J & T arrived, you littles were both thrilled to have a playmate. You taught him how to cheers with his cup at dinner, & we watched the two of you cheers at least a hundred more times throughout the rest of dinner (& even with your ice cream during dessert). When you guys gave each other hugs before bed, my heart melted. These are the precious moments I've always dreamed of sharing with my best friend.

We spent the next day enjoying the outdoors. You took T for a ride in your mustang & scared the poor kid half to death. Aunt J & I both decided that maybe T should drive when you two get older?

As fun as our day was, we watched little T get clingier & clingier for his mommy. Was he coming down with something? Was he teething? Should we try to find a pediatrician or a walk-in? The not knowing what is wrong or if anything is really wrong is sometimes the hardest things for a Mommy. Every clue seemed to point to teething, & we just tried to make T as comfortable as possible while we figured he was getting his two year molars in.

None of us slept very well that night, but we woke up & got ready for your soccer game. T was crying on the way to the soccer fields. I asked you if you would sing him a song. You sang "You Are My Sunshine." His tears stopped as you sang. Then he tried to sing a long too. It was the most adorable thing. Who needs a radio when we have two sweet littles singing in off-key harmony?

Soccer & our trip to the Umbrella Factory afterwards was a constant seesaw of fun & tears.

We headed home for naps, hoping sleep would be good for everyone. It was then that J & I laughed at our situation. Here we were in the middle of a trip we had been looking forward to since it was planned, feeling absolutely exhausted & emotionally drained. The trip so far was a little bit of a disaster. Being mommies hadn't been easy for either of us that day. We felt so awful that little T was having such a tough time & there was nothing we could really do about it. You had had a frustrating day as well. Listening had not been a strong suit for you.

At the same time, it was still one of the best visits ever. If I'm going to have a really rough day, I can't tell you how amazing it is to have my best friend by my side through it. We'd also had the chance, for the first time, to truly watch our kids talk to each other, interact with each other, & play together. There was cheersing, singing, playing, pumpkin picking, reading, & squeezing (hugs). In the midst of a really tough weekend, there were such precious moments. Aunt J & I both could see that. With us living so far apart from each other, it was such a blessing to be able to have these precious moments.

Even though your aunt J & I probably could have used a nap ourselves, we spent the rest of your nap-time chatting. I had been feeling guilty that day. I felt like I had lost my patience more often than I should have. I was looking at your aunt J & the infinite patience she was displaying with T, & I was feeling a little like a bad mom. I told your aunt J how great of a mom she truly was & how inspiring it had been to watch her with T the past couple days. What she said next really surprised me. She said she was thinking about how great of a mom I was. She was watching how I talked to you & felt like she was learning a lot from me. It put a smile in my heart. We're very different as moms, & that's really nice because there is so much we are able to learn so much from each other. We talked some more about our hopes & our fears. It felt so perfect to be able to just sit & chat with my best friend.

The next day, both you & T seemed to wake up in good spirits, which was fortunate because we were having people over to watch football & visist with Aunt J & T. We enjoyed some outside time before everyone came to visit.

When the two of you woke up from your naps, you were ready for a party. It was so precious to watch all the littles play together while we caught up with our college friends. It's amazing how much has changed since we all graduated.

Us grown-ups may have been having a football party, but you were enjoying a dress-up party.

I enjoyed every moment of the last bedtime the four of us would share for a while.

As I was changing you out of your princess dress that night, I noticed a faint rash all over your body. Uh oh, were you sick too? Sigh, I guess no visit with my best friend is truly complete without sick children. After being asked to yield to little T the whole weekend ("Em, just let him have the toy, he's sick"), you were ready to take advantage of your newfound sickness. "Well, I think I should have the toy now. I AM the one with the RASH." 

The next morning, we took you to Newport Creamery for milkshakes (best medicine ever, right?) before taking you both to the pediatrician. 

The doctor said it was likely you both had a virus & put us at ease that you both tested negative for strep. Aunt J & I gave a sigh of relief that there was nothing more that we could've done for you two than what we had been doing- trying to keep you as comfortable as possible. When you're a mommy & you're not sure what to do, it's such a comfort to hear that your child is going to be just fine & that you did the right thing.

We took a road trip down to North Jersey to drop Aunt J & T off with their family, where they would continue with their trip. There was a lot of singing & cheese ball sharing between you & T in the back of the car. We played in North Jersey for a little while before heading back home to get you some rest (luckily, T started to feel much better from this point, while the virus hit our house full force over the next week).

When it was time to say goodbye to Aunt J & T, you cried. "But I want to bring them back to our house," you whimpered. I understood how you felt. As tough as the weekend had been, there was so much beauty in it. There were so many precious moments between you & T, & being able to share them with my best friend meant more than you can know. We're truly lucky. Even though we may live far apart, I'm so fortunate to have such a dear friend in Aunt J & for you to have one in little T. I'm looking forward to our future visits & precious moments in the years ahead...hopefully everyone can be healthy for some of them.

I love you so,

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