There’s a dog in my town.
A good and silly boy.
He belongs to a dear friend of mine.
As a matter of fact, he is waiting for her to come home right now.
I have known this young friend since she and Number-One-Son-Sam shared a classroom and became friends at the beginning of elementary school. She is the daughter – and sister – of some people who are pretty dang important to me, as well as to the rest of my family.
This is clearly evident by the sheer volume of texts and calls I’m getting from the Nearly Perfect Husband, First-Born-Mac, Half-Kid-Jack, Number-One-Son-Sam, and Self-Proclaimed-Perfect-Child Gabe.
Add those calls and texts to those from her own family and other friends and I’m pretty sure we are pushing the Verizon network to its limits right now.
Cuz we love this kid, that’s why.
The specific details of how and why I am where I am are not mine to share, but after a call on Monday, my dear young friend and I have been on a journey together.
And right now I am hanging out by her bedside at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
This is a place, both fortunately and unfortunately, that she and I know well.
She as a patient.
I as a mother.
We have been here together in the past, but in a visiting capacity.
We have never been here as each other’s person.
Her Mom and Dad – both amazing humans in their own right – are working like crazy to get back early from a trip to Russia.
Turns out when you have a certain type of permission to go in to Russia, you cannot just leave without consequences.
Seems odd to me.
Like the getting in part ought to be the biggest deal to the Russian Government.
But I’m about to digress.
My friends’ daughter is dealing with something that they know could take her from them.
And they can’t get home until late on Friday.
My heart is bleeding for them.
Because I get it.
My young friend – their daughter – is strong.
She’s got this.
I have told her parents, via phone and text and more than once, that she is the captain of this ship. And I am merely ballast.
But the reality is that I have been her person these past days.
I’ve got a badge and everything.
But perhaps more importantly, she has been mine.
Mine to watch over.
Mine to fiercely protect if necessary.
Mine to keep safe.
She is amazing, as are so many of the kids who come here.
She knows her stuff, is a phenomenal self-advocate, and last night even offered a young medical student the opportunity to perform a life-saving procedure that this student hadn’t yet performed.
“You know, to get practice” she offered, cool as a cucumber.
This is a teaching hospital.
She is a nursing student.
I was blown away.
She does that to me.
Some time last night I snuck downstairs to grab a coffee, and get the overnight bag from my car.
And as I was coming back upstairs I passed people.
Docs and Nurses in their scrubs. Some just coming in, and some headed home.
Parents with giggling children.
Some with casts, some with IV poles, some in wheelchairs.
With looks that read, ‘I’m trying to process this…but I can’t.’
And, of course, kids who are in no mood to smile. Whether it be due to illness, or pain, or fear.
I’ve been there, as a parent, for each of these situations.
All I wanted to do was to walk beside each of them, and make it all okay.
Knowing for some it would not be okay.
Today, a better day than yesterday for my young friend, we broke out of our hospital room prison.
We were going stir crazy and needed some adventure (just a little one).
I casually walked down the hall and took an empty wheel chair without asking.
She hopped in willingly, also not asking.
She directed me to a garden she loved.
And when we got to it, I was stunned. I didn’t know about this beautiful place.
People were walking, sitting, eating, and talking on gorgeous paths, among stunning trees and flowers.
And we went outside, moving quickly through sunlit areas and then more slowly through shaded ones.
It was a hot day, and the sun isn’t her friend right now.
When we were headed inside, she told me that the garden is open all year ’round.
And she said she loves that.
I reacted by asking, “Even in winter?”
And she told me that yes, it was open, even in winter.
She said, again, that she loved that.
“Why?” I asked “Why do you love that?”
“Because it needs to be.” she said.
“Because it could be the last chance someone has to go outside.”
This beautiful young lady, actually. An adult by law, that I will always call a kid.
Because I can’t help it.
She slayed me and emboldened me with that single, incredibly empathetic and clear observation.
‘It’s true.’ I thought. ‘It is true that this garden offers a last chance for some kids to go outside.’ And my eyes filled and I was glad I was pushing her from behind, so she couldn’t see my face.
And then I grit my teeth as I pushed her toward the elevator.
But not you, kid.
And not today.
Thanks for readin’.
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