School called this morning to let me know my son got sick and to please pick him up from the nurse’s office. There is never a best time to feel like crap, but today was especially inconvenient as the home inspection guy stayed busy scrutinizing every single square inch of my house until way past noon. Luckily, the Moxie Java by my place is still standing and has comfy couches for sick kids whose house is off-limits to take a nap.
As long as I was home, I gave the nanny the day off and looked forward to spending time with the kids. We watched a movie, read a book, laid down on the couch, got ready for dinner. Then I couldn’t find my daughter. Suddenly, I heard a light cry coming from the bedroom. By the time I laid by her side the sobbing had become wailing so it was hard to understand why her day had been so horrible. Her friends at school don’t like her, she said. They boss her around. They say she’s mean, but she’s not. She only has one friend in another class. What is she doing wrong, she wondered inconsolably.
And there I was, frozen, like an idiot, with no words whatsoever to alleviate my child’s suffering. Just a few hours earlier I was asking similar questions to my friends about myself. So I embraced her tightly, I let her talk, I heard her out, until little by little she started to calm down and go back to being the cheerful, funny, awesome girl I know.
Not so long ago, someone did that for me too.
Parents and friends, we might not always have the right words to make our loved one feel better. When that happens, don’t worry. Remember that a hug, a hand-squeeze, a kiss in the cheek, being there, that’s all it takes most of the time to brighten someone’s day.