Sterling has the flu, and has been a miserable, snotty, fevered, coughing mess for the last few days.
It's funny, but the comfort items she has chosen to keep around her are incredibly telling.
There is Bucket, the blanket that our good friend Teddi made for S on her first birthday, and has been a beloved member of the family ever since. There isn't a nap or a bedtime complete without a little Bucket love, and Bucket has dragged across countless floors and through numerous play dates ever since.
There is a pair of Bennett's jammies that I originally put on Sterling because she had fever sweated through hers.
I gave her a bath, and a pair of his jammies were the first clean thing handy after I got her out of the tub. She instantly recognized that they were his and did a little shimmy of happiness, and has been incredibly attached to them ever since. I dread the moment when I will have to peel their sweaty, Tylenol-sticky grossness off of her sick little body for good.
Every time we have to take them off for a potty break, it's a major ordeal and there is a part of me that inwardly cringes each time I slide those jammies back for cuddling in my bed.
And there is her "Vioyet". A Christmas card from her friend Violet who recently moved to Denver.
S found the card two days ago and has diligently carried it everywhere with her since. It's a bittersweet memento. Emblazoned with the word "Cheer", it simultaneously reminds us of good friends that we love so much, but at the same time of how far away they live.
The card is now a little battered and frayed around the edges, but she still hugs it to her tiny little chest and proudly proclaims "that's MY Vioyet" with a sigh of happiness.
And late last night, after hours of waking up repeatedly screaming in discomfort, S finally decided that what she really needed was a little FaceTime with Nana and Pop Pop. The ultimate comfort, some grandparenty love and the added benefit of it being illicitly after bedtime.
Looking at her horde of comfort got me thinking.
When she was miserable, it wasn't the beautiful house or the nice car or the awesome toys that Sterling looked to for comfort.
No, it was the loved ones and little pieces of their love that she wrapped around herself to find comfort in the depths of her sickness.
And there is something beautiful that we can all learn from that.
When we are stripped down to a miserable little nub, nothing more than a wretched, sad little bundle of raw nerves, and are looking for comfort, it is the loved ones that we choose to surround ourselves with that are the most important thing.
Really, they are the only thing that matters.
The great thing is that your loved ones aren't limited to the ones that you were born to. Sterling chose Violet, just as I have chosen many of my closest "family" members. The key is that you let yourself be honest and open enough in your heart that you let them in.
Just like a closed hand cannot hold on to anything important, a closed heart cannot hold on to anyone important. And if my kids have taught me anything, its how to live life with an open, loving heart.
Because at the end of the day, love truly is all that is really matters.