I am at the end of week two of sick kids and I am faltering. We literally prayed Kate would pull it together to make it through Erin's graduation and Mother's Day last weekend and whereas she is still being medicated to control congestion and allergies, she is functioning. Ty spiked a 103.1 temp Sunday night and is still quite sick with hand foot and mouth. I do not love hand foot and mouth. My little friend Anna says she doesn't like something this way and it sounds so much more pleasant than the words in my head at the moment. Ty is not able to eat, the mouth numbing suckers are no longer effective and even drinking water is painful. Ty does not love hand foot and mouth either. Let's be honest, Ty isn't the most cooperative child on a good day. Add illness for five solid days and what you have is a grumpy, whiny disaster. This may describe me as much as him at this point.
In true Anne fashion, popsicles were delivered today and promises of an alcohol run were made too. We debated the merit of using a frozen pina colada to numb his mouth, but quickly determined it was not sound medicine in today's culture even though I am here to tell you my parents would have done it in a minute. I distinctly remember a pacifier in a glass of wine at some point in my childhood. I swear parenting was easier before all these "helpful" parenting advice columns. But I digress.....
During my sanity check with Anne, we chatted about how my parenting as evolved from the days of matching dresses on my first two complete with hair styles and shoes that were appropriate for any given occasion to the mess seen daily in my house now. I shared the story of Erin choosing her best dress with jewelry and curled hair for picture day in third grade and this year I didn't even know it was Kate's picture day! She wore a messy bun and old tee shirt. I am mom of the year obviously. So in addition to Anne calling me every time we are facing severe weather because I refuse to watch the news and never have the TV on during the day, she now has to let me know when my kids should look like children with parents and not homeless people discovered on the side of the road. Being my friend is apparently a heavy workload and I owe her chocolate often.
The reality is that I am blessed to have a few very close friends I know love me inside and out, despite my flaws of which there are plenty. They are the people I call when I need to hash something out and know my husband can't listen as long as my girlfriends do. He likes to quickly fix things and they know I just need to talk. I think in general, this is simply the way it is in marriage so God gives us girlfriends to prevent us from driving our husbands crazy. On this list, I have a few friends and can't imagine my life without any one of them.
Anne's popsicle run demonstrates the other aspect of friendship I value most. Genuine concern for each other's children is vital if we are going to invest in one another. We love our kids and our friend's kids. Period. If you mess with one of these kids, you have a host of momma's ready to step in. Sometimes that looks a lot like talking a mom off the ledge of which she is about to jump and other times it's supporting her through prayer, hugs, tears and research. I have googled some of the strangest things in hopes of finding something helpful for a friend and her kids. Friends will do whatever it takes to make a positive difference in a difficult situation.
So I don't know if you have heard, but parenting is hard work; gut wrenching, heart breaking work. My friends have cried with me, celebrated with me and supported me through a very colorful life. I pray I have been as invested in theirs. Other than relying on God for the strength to endure some of our challenges, my friends have helped carry the load. I am grateful and blessed to be supported by incredible friends.