Tag Archives: friendship

Monday Musings: When your friend shows up with Brussels Sprouts

6 Mar
I never expected to see this when I walked out the door on Tuesday.

I never expected to see this when I walked out the door on Tuesday.

Did you ever just have one of those weeks? One of those months? You know…the kind where you’ve got sick kids, crazy weeks at work, more sick kids, a smashed windshield, and a broken trunk?

Yeah, me too.

No? Well then consider yourself lucky.

Some weeks seem to definitely personify the whole, “When it rains, it pours” theory and this past week and really, even the weeks before it, seemed to point in that direction. For a short month, we really packed in the crazy. And, true to form, March seems to be coming in like a lion, and I don’t mean with the weather.

That said, the normal, day-to-day stuff, above and beyond the crazy, has been fine, good even. Work is good, weather has been unusually warm for February, and overall I really am blessed and thankful. Even though I’ve been dosing out antibiotics for a month now, the illnesses they’re for are minor, and I know that. They’re curable. It’s annoying stuff, but overall it could be worse. I’m just trying to keep my head above water, that’s all.

When I walked out the door on Tuesday, I found my car as you see it above. Broken back windshield, no idea how it happened or if someone had done it or not. It was mid-day and our neighborhood is eerily quiet during the day, so it was shocking to see this and wonder if it had been purposeful or not. We may never know.

The windshield was fixed by the end of the week, quickly and efficiently, except now when I went outside to drive it for the first time on Friday, the tailgate was slightly open and it wouldn’t latch shut. Then we got it to latch shut, only to find we couldn’t actually get it open. Later in the weekend we got it open, but had to latch it stuck shut again, because it still wouldn’t latch properly.

Not sure what’s up with that.

Yesterday after a couple of other annoying, minor situations, it just seemed like it had been one of those days. For five days and really, for four weeks.

Basketball has been an amazing experience for her and for us.

Basketball has been an amazing experience for her and for us.

On Saturday, we drove our car and its latched-shut trunk, over to the playoff games for my youngest daughter’s basketball team. This has been our first-ever experience with basketball, and it’s been amazing. The Cranston Youth Girls Basketball league was started by the husband of a friend of mine from high school, and this year when my daughter Alex asked to join a league, I knew just the one. Shortly after the season started, her friend Mia joined also. It’s been such a great experience for both of them, and for all of us, their biggest fans. Our two families have sat together all season long, through practices and game after game. Cheering them on, biting our nails, watching the clock, and chatting during half time.

It was during one of those chats several weeks ago, that we got started talking about dinner and what we were making later on. Mia’s mom Carolyn, mentioned that she was going home to make dinner which included her favorite recipe for Brussels Sprouts. I mentioned, emphatically, that I love Brussels Sprouts and that I am the only person in my family who does, so I rarely get them. I’ve been known to buy them for myself and eat them myself, just to have a chance to have them.

That was weeks ago. The days came and went after that. This weekend when she said, “So how’s everything?” I had an earful for her about my car and that whole saga. There wasn’t much she could say, but she listened and shook her head as I told the story.

This meant so much more to me than a new recipe or a side dish for my dinner.

This meant so much more to me than a new recipe or a side dish for my dinner.

Last night, at 7:00 p.m. our doorbell rang. We were sitting at dinner, eating Beef Burgandy, and we couldn’t imagine who could be at the door at this time on a Sunday night, after dark. My husband scooped up the dog and answered the door. There on my front doorstep was Mia’s dad, Ed…. Ed who has taken the girls for ice cream after basketball practice on many Wednesdays when I’m too tired to say “no” to ice cream very convincingly, Ed who has taken them to his office to help them study for Social Studies tests until they knew the information inside and out.

There was Ed, holding up a container filled with something.

“What is it?” I asked. “Just open it and see,” he said.

Inside….Carolyn’s Brussels Sprouts. I was shocked, and also elated.

“Wait til you taste them,” he said. “They’re amazing.”

And he was right. I took the container up to the table and sat right down and ate them. They were life-changing, as much as Brussels Sprouts could be. They were absolutely delicious.

The thing is, they were so much more than Brussels Sprouts to me. In my mind, it was a reminder of just how truly lucky we are. We have good people all around us. Good friends, thoughtful friends, and people who are just as busy, if not more-so, and have just as much going on, if not more-so, and yet they are people who still take the time out of their day to think of us, to remember something I said about my love for Brussels Sprouts weeks ago, and to go out of their way to pack them up and send them over.

I thanked Carolyn profusely through a series of texts, showing her my empty container, and raving about the recipe. She made my whole night, and she made the start to a new week a little tastier, a little bit easier to take on whatever needs taking on. In our texting back and forth, she was kind enough to send me the recipe. I am sharing it here for you, and I plan on making it myself, for myself, and eating every bite.

Much later in the night, I got a text from my oldest daughter. She was getting into her car, letting us know she was leaving her theater banquet at a restaurant in a nearby city, one known for its decadent desserts, and she was on her way home.

“I’m leaving now,” she said, “And I’m bringing you a surprise.”

You know what? I think it’s going to be a better week.

I can just taste it.

Here's to good friends, good kids and good weeks.

Here’s to good friends, good kids and good weeks.




Monday Musings: It was the worst of times, it was the best of times

14 Apr
"Friends are like flowers in the garden of life."

“Friends are like flowers in the garden of life.”

Last week the stomach bug hit our house along with some sort of upper respiratory bug also hitting our house the same week. I had one kid and one husband both down for the count for a good portion of the week. I thought we’d missed the stomach bug this spring because we’d made it through both February and March which are the months we usually get nailed. But, out of the blue at 3am last Monday morning our youngest started and once it hit her she was down and out for four days.

It was pretty awful for her, with the first day being the most awful one of all.

And yet, it’s not the awfulness of the bugs or the awfulness of having sick people for half a week that I’ll remember when I look back on it. (Don’t get me wrong, though, it was awful.)

What I’ll remember instead, is this: On Monday afternoon, a friend brought one of my other daughters home for me. About a half hour after she left, there was a knock at our front door and my daughter came running down the hall, saying that the mom who’d dropped her off was back.

And she was. I opened the front door makeup-less and in my sweats, and there she stood, holding two bags filled with Gatorade and jello for my daughter and wine and chocolates for me. I was amazed. I hadn’t asked, but yet she’d taken the time to do that for us, for my daughter, for me. She even brought extra Gatorade in case the bug hit more than one of us during the week. (Knock on wood…so far so good.)

Her gesture totally and completely made my day. I smiled afterwards for at least an hour as I went through the rest of my afternoon and evening, and later on when she checked in by text, I smiled again.

Earlier that day, I’d gotten a message from a co-worker at the paper. If there was anything I needed covered that day, she’d get it done. Another co-worker emailed me as well. If I needed any supplies, she’d drop them off on my front steps, a safe distance away from catching anything!! Our neighbor offered out her help if there was anything she could do. Family and friends from far away sent me messages of support. Just reading them made me feel good,and I wasn’t even the one who was feeling sick!

That’s the thing about hard times: it brings out the best in people. No matter what tough time I look back on, it’s countered by the goodness of those around us. When my husband ruptured his achilles tendon a few years back, and began to prep for surgery and a long recovery, we were inundated with offers of help. People brought meals, helped out with yard work, one friend even delivered a chair from their house to ours so that he could sleep in a recliner right after the surgery when he couldn’t lay in bed.

When I was going to miss out on St. Joseph’s Day in 2013, a friend from school went out in the rain and got me the zeppole I’d been waiting 12 months for, delivering it to my doorstep. The zeppole was delicious, but the thoughtfulness and kindness behind it is what I’ll never forget.

Even a few weeks back, when my same daughter was out with a different virus, I had offers of help and so many well-wishes right from the get-go when I put up a status update on social media about having a sick kid at home. If there was anything I needed, people were right there for me, even people I don’t know as well or see as often. The offers for help were abundant.

So I know the famous saying is actually, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but I’d like to change that around. For each and every “worst” time, I have some of the “best” memories of wonderful things that people have said and done to go along with it.

And so….It was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times.

Thank you.