When I get to see my friends and their families, I sometimes find myself watching their kids with a silly smile on my face. I mean, unless they’re screaming or generally going insane for any number of reasons. These little people are my friends, come to life (again), 10-15-25 years later (I’m lucky, yes, my circle of friends dates back to elementary school). But the simple days of thinking: my god, [they, little BFFs] look like [insert name of BFF here] them are almost gone. Most of my friends’ kids are grown or growing up into little full-scale humans (pre-teens and teens – I die) with crazy emotion, humor, intelligence, personality/ies. When they were all tiny humans, I remember thinking on several occasions: god(s), please protect them. I couldn’t imagine anything happening to them (I am sure I had and still have a grossly exaggerated belief in my powers of protection).
Recently, a friend’s oldest daughter had to be admitted to the hospital. This happened over the holiday break, and – rightly so – it was the last thing on anyone’s radar. I despised seeing her in the Baptist ER hospital bed (coincidentally, the same hospital my mom had been in earlier this year; the care there is/was fantastic), with an IV, looking like anything other than herself. She was seemingly “ok” laying there (still making jokes), but her diagnosis was pneumonia with (later) an infected lung. It came on insanely suddenly. My BFF (since 7th grade) was, as she had always been about medical things (I do not share this trait – at all), a beacon of strength. She amazed me all over again (as she has 1.2 million times in our long history together). This time, it wasn’t her or one of her friends in the hospital, it was her child. One of my favorite (not so) little (anymore) people. I had to suck tears back into my ducts walking into the hospital room. Meanwhile, my BFF made gingerbread houses with “D” (her daughter) and entertained her other two kids – at the same time. I marveled, daily, at her and her husband’s collective strength. I’m sure this is the strength inherent to all parents but to watch it in your friends, in real time, is nothing short of remarkable.
::: runs off to find tissues :::