Sunday, September 13, 2009


I have been thinking a lot about the importance of friends. Today, I was able to attend Church services while my husband stayed home with the kids. There was a case of H1N1 in our congregation, so we are being cautious. In our women's meeting, the lesson was on friendship and the importance of having and being a friend.

It is so important for those with special needs kids to have good friends. The ones that will sit with you while your child is critically ill, calls you to make sure you have eaten, brings you dinner (or Portillo's chocolate cake), gets away with you, and watches your other children when you have appointments.

A night out
Last night, I was able to get a much needed break. A girlfriend and I went out for a small bite to eat. We didn't like the atmosphere of the first place we chose, so with the top down on my husband's convertible (and car seats in the backseat) we headed to a different local that had some live music. She laughed at me ordering a Shirley Temple (they only had Diet Coke, which I hate) and we talked, people watched, and listened to the band play.

We had a few hours of peace. There were no crisis at either of our homes. Formula was made and medicine was given without any calls to check in with me. We laughed and joked and talked about death and sickness.

I also got a small dose of nostalgia when I tasted the chips that we had ordered, served with Ranch dressing. They tasted just like the "spuds" that my favorite pizza place served in my hometown in Oregon. Pizza and spuds were always served with Ranch, although, there was ketsup available, which I prefer. Many family dinners were held at Abby's Pizza, after football game gatherings in high school, and our traditional Christmas Eve dinner was often there.

Hand holding
I am grateful for the friends who would sit with me in a hospital room with my daughter, hold my hand while she was in a lengthy surgery, and watch at a bedside while I tried to comfort my daughter through the pain of one of many surgeries. The two friends who recently did this with me are not strangers to hospitals. One has a husband with Stage 4 kidney cancer, who is in his early 30's. The other has a son with Propionic Acidemia and has spent almost as much time in a hospital as we have, knowing that many hospitalizations could end up with one less child at home.

Another friend, whom I saw today is not a person I have known for very long. We first chatted at a New Year's Eve party that she threw to welcome in 2009. She is a nurse and knew my daughter had allergies, so she was pointing out how foods had been prepared and which items were definitely not safe for her that night. A few weeks later, her oldest child felt ill and within a few days had a heart transplant. Since I couldn't visit her, while her son was in the hospital, I wrote letters to her and we chatted once her son could be back out in public. Today, as she touched my arm and said "I am so sorry, I just found out." I felt loved, comforted, and understood. While a defibrillator (ICD) is much less serious than a heart transplant, we understand the others experience.

What a relief it is after a stressful tiring day to have someone bring you a meal. Last week, we were blessed by two friends bringing our family dinner.

Other times, friends have driven through a snow storm to bring us food at the hospital after a lengthy stay and had pizza delivered because they couldn't quite get dinner on the table at their own home either.

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