1. There are certain milestones you look forward to your children reaching–first smile, first tooth, first time they reach for you to pick them up, first shaky steps across the floor…however, the one milestone I'm less than thrilled about Elizabeth reaching this week is how to pull herself up on to the sofa. Where she finds it quite comical to stand up holding on to the back, then let go and allow herself to do a free fall plop down on to her rumpus, and/or back, depending upon how she sticks the landing. And of course a baby masters how to climb up on the sofa without a firm set of safety precautions established in her repertoire, or a means for getting down from said sofa that doesn't require tears and bruised cheeks, or help from her mother. I've been spending a lot of time on my sofa the past few days.
2. You will always be able to find someone else in a situation that is worse or harder than what you are going through. But that doesn't diminish or negate what you are experiencing or feeling. When a person needs a shoulder to cry on, an ear to complain in, be that shoulder or that ear. And in that moment, don't remind them that other people have it worse or harder. It's like the person who has one child and is experiencing a struggle can't complain to the person who has three or four children because how could her simple life, with only one child ever be as complicated as the person with three? That's just not fair. And life can't be broken down so simply. You have a right to feel what you are feeling, to struggle where you are struggling. And you have the right to be comforted and to give comfort.
3. You all do number two perfectly. I'm not sure I can say that I've ever read my blog comments through teary eyes, but this weekend and this morning, I did. I just needed that little bit of 'chin up' understanding and encouragement that came through in your words. When I talk to people who don't know blogging, the first thing I remark on is the community. But not the kind of community where the neighbors growl and groan behind closed doors about this person's noisy kids or that person's weedy front garden. But the kind of community where people wander from front porches, and linger together on the sidewalk. And share a cup of coffee, or pass along an extra quart of strawberries, or pick up their neighbor's tipped over garbage cans that have blown into the street. It's a community where people go out of their way to be nice, to encourage, to support, to help. Thank you. Over and over.
4. Is there much in this world that tastes better than strawberries that are still warm from being plucked from the vine? I don't think so.