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All four of my sons were on antibiotics this week. Two were fighting off strep, and the younger two had ear infections. For me it meant juggling a little more and neglecting the dishes in the sink for a little longer.

Each of my children has a distinct “sick” personality. My eldest son needs to snuggle, needs attention, needs to play hours of board games with me. I need to ride the sick train with him – empathize with every cough and sneeze, supply the tissues and the warm meals. My 6 year old finds me largely irrelevant. If there is a computer screen or a TV screen, I am simply there to give out medicine at the appropriate times. My younger two are still a little too little to make actual demands. They are crabby and tired but nothing a well-read book can’t take care of. In general, as long as there is Motrin, our house is fairly subdued, cozy and calm during bouts of minor illnesses.

I spent yesterday in a children’s hospital visiting my friend’s young son. For me, standing in that hospital with lots of little people with smiles, with IV poles and with baggy hospital pajamas, I had a true moment of clarity. It is a moment that sucker-punches and takes your breath away. As I watch my friend go through every parent’s nightmare, I thought we don’t often put things into perspective. We are often tired, overwhelmed and treading water. Every once in awhile we need to be reminded to be grateful for what we have, appreciative of the wonders that are our children.

I came home and played board games, doled out antibiotics and read a lot of books to a lot of adorable little boys.

What about you? Any wise advice on how to keep perspective?