The Tables Turned: A Lesson in Friendship and Motherhood

Roughly 11 years ago, my friend Bean and I found each other. The details of our early friendship are long and sordid and involve way more than anyone, other than the two of us, would find amusing. Just know that we had known each other for years, yet barely acknowledged one another, then one night, in the light of a full moon, we bonded over a single Zeppelin tune.

Okay, I don’t know if that moon thing is true, but the way we connected…my mind sees it that way And, the Zeppelin thing? Totally happened.

I was at a point in my life, with a young daughter, where I was looking for friends whom I truly respected and I felt like that about her. So, a few months later, I sat down to discuss being friends with her. I ASKED her to be my best friend like it was a business transaction. Weird, right? Only, it wasn’t. Nothing has ever been weird with us.

We used to talk. A lot. Every day, actually. We were pregnant for our sons at the same time…due just three weeks apart. And, when mine was born seven weeks early, she listened as I cried over what was happening to him. She heard me as I wept over not knowing what the future would bring. She comforted me, and when she couldn’t comfort me, she would just quietly BE THERE.

Her son was born nine weeks later with two collapsed lungs. Was I there for her? Not like she was for me. I had a nine week old, very sick baby. Did she understand? Of course she did. She has always understood.

She is always there for me. I love her a lot. Through every bit of the ups and downs of having a special-needs, medically-fragile child, she has been a rock.

Almost three weeks ago, her son came down with…something. Fever, vomiting, cramps and other symptoms that made it seem, at first, to be a run-of-the-mill virus. But, it didn’t go away. He kept getting worse.

A few nights ago, he was admitted to the hospital and we have come to find out that it’s not just a virus. This boy who was a typical, active, healthy nine year old just a few weeks ago, is now fighting a battle that no one saw coming. Just like that, my best friend has joined me in the ranks of being the parent of a child with medical problems.

And, now it’s my turn to be what she has always been. It’s my turn to hold her hand, and listen, and comfort her and quietly BE THERE.

I kind of hate her for giving me such big shoes to fill.

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