We Get to Carry Each Other

“I’m almost stopped by your house this morning to cry.” A friend told me the other day as we waited to pick up our daughters after school.

“You should have,” I said without thinking, “what’s going on?”

My friend has another child with a multiplicity of special needs who is struggling to make a big transition at school. My friend had a meeting scheduled that day with the principal, but right before it she discovered something else that concerned her and decided to schedule a meeting with the school counselor too.

After these back-to-back meetings she was exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. Raising a kid with special needs can be so arduous. The school is just around the corner from my house and she thought about stopping by to tell me all about it and have a good cry.

“Why didn’t you?” I asked.

The short story is she talked herself out of it because she wanted to save me for a real emergency. I mean you can’t just show up at your friend’s fixing to cry willy nilly, can you?

The funny thing is, with me you can and I’m really good at it.

Years ago a friend stopped by and I winced when I saw her car because her home is always immaculate and mine is not but I opened the door with a smile and was surprised to see her face wet with tears.

“What’s wrong!” I asked.

“I GAINED TEN POUNDS!” She was in the later days of her first pregnancy and had just been to the O.B.

Without a word I opened my arms wide and she fell into them, sobbing.

I was pregnant too, with our second child, Lydia, and managing to keep my weight gain at the lower end of normal. But with my firstborn, Christopher, I gained more than 50 pounds and had one devastating month towards the end where I gained nine pounds alone. This was the month after I told my midwife I was probably going to have this baby early because I couldn’t imagine getting any bigger.

She just smiled and nodded but now I know she was almost certainly thinking, “You sweet, simple thing.”

I was aghast when I gained nine pounds the next month and my friend remembered this when confronted by her own horrific weigh-in two years later. She knew I would understand. And, of course, I did. Soon I had her laughing and she went back to work feeling so much better.

I don’t want to simplify this: my house may not be perfect, but I’m open and friendly: so there! I’m not always open and I struggle with keeping my house as tidy as I’d like, although it’s not the burden that it was. I have some projects I need to do, but most of the time my house is organized and clean “enough.”

Our new house is beautiful and pretty much in shape, but I’m tired.   Except with family and friends I find the hospitality part of the equation to be the heavier one right now. I’m thinking about this summer and what I want to do. Paul has a lot of travel coming up so that needs to be taken into consideration.

But drive-by crying? Yeah, I’m up for that.

This week on Houzz, I’m talking about not allowing the imperfections of your home hold you back from opening it to others.

Where do you fall on the entertaining/hospitality/good times spectrum?


  1. says

    I wish I were the type of person that people felt comfortable enough to stop and cry with…I’m so glad you have those types of relationships, Alison!

    I’ve been thinking about this lately, and I feel like our family needs to do more entertaining. My husband is a pastor, though, and right now I think he needs our home to be a haven where he can relax. He’s so busy with church responsibilities and going on hospital calls and meetings that he doesn’t really have anything left for entertaining. We’ll see what the future holds, maybe having people over once in a while would be good for all of us.

  2. says

    Robyn, I’d stop by your house to cry!

    I’m an introvert, so I understand your husband’s reluctance, but I bet the two of you could find a definition of “once in a while” that works for both of you.

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