Holding up the arms.
Rubbing the tired shoulders, folding the laundry, sharing the recipes, reminding each other about free donut days and birthdays and showering grace when we’re late to the preschool pick up.
Not comparing our kids. Celebrating the victories. Weeping the pain. Delivering the casseroles. Sharing more than just fine. Rocking the collicky babies, offering the girls nights out, teaching the best teething gels, powders, rings.
Sending the cards, loaning the good boots, complimenting the jeans. Sharing the best books, driving the car pool, ignoring the squabbling kids, making time for the catching up. Coming when she calls when her man’s out of town. Showing up with the Starbucks and sticky buns. Telling her, she can. Especially on the days when she’s still wearing her pajamas. Telling her to be kind to herself, and that comfy clothes are always the right choice.
Not comparing houses or laundry piles or kids’ behavior.
Cheering for each others’ dreams, kids, work, art, new hair cut.
Crying alongside. Holding on. Hoping. Passing the tissues. Buying the chocolate. Holding the hands. Opening arms to the grief. Patiently walking the valleys, flash light packed, stop watch left at home.
Believing the best, giving the benefit of the doubt, calling. Complimenting.
Spending time in each others’ kitchens, laundry rooms, living rooms, cars. Meeting up for breakfasts, sending notes just because. Praying. Cracking knees to the mat and praying for her story, her life, her rabid fear of parenting.
Sharing the mess ups, the upside downs, the glimpses into your chaos. Not cleaning up before she comes over. Being OK with being seen just as you really are.
Welcoming her into your real life. So she can exhale.
And you can be encouraged.
My friends Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have a book launching today that I think does just that. Truly, wonderful, tenderly – click here to see the trailer about their new book, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. I’ve read every word and if you don’t have time for a break or a friend who lives close enough to come over, this book might be the next best thing.