Giving and receiving. We generally find ourselves on one side or the other - either in need of help or able to give of our time and resources to others who need support.
Sometimes I worry that we've been on the needy side of the equation for too long; since Lachlan's diagnosis in early October. Our families have offered emotional, logistical and financial support - for which we are very grateful. Our friends cook for us, care for Finn while Patrick and I attend dozens of doctor's appointments, and inject much-needed humorous interludes into our lives. During the time of intense grief that we passed through in the month after the diagnosis, both blog friends and local friends reminded us that life goes on - simply by their words and caring gestures. Life is certainly not perfect, nor is it at all easy, but human relationships make it all worth while.
I'll admit that it is sometimes a challenge for me to still find myself in need of help, with no end in sight. The truly difficult times have not yet come to pass. But there you have it, in that last phrase: "Come to pass." Difficult times come and go. But I love the overlooked emphasis there - not only to they come and go, but they come in order to go. So that we may, once again, be in a position of the Giver rather than the Recepient. And the Circle of Life continues. I do hope that, once this difficult time passes, that I will remember it well and be able to offer myself to others who are going through challenging times. It is easier to say thank you when you know that, one day, you can repay the favor - perhaps not directly to the person who offered their help, but to someone else. A pay-it-forward kind of arrangement.
Until then, I hope you enjoy the examples of the generosity of friends and blog readers below. Aren't people just so good? I may not be able to answer many emails, thanking people for their kind words, and I may not get thank-you notes in the mail any time soon, but know that I am so grateful for everything you have done for our family. Lachlan is being born into a beautiful world, indeed. As I wipe away a happy tear or two, please enjoy these examples of gifts of time, talent, and hands. Valentine's Day pales when compared to the Circle of Giving and Receiving that happens all over the world at all times of the year. Lachlan, you are loved.
Thank you to the following friends:
- to Paige and Josh, for all of the babysitting on short-notice and for your mouth-watering dinners.
- to Sarah, for your support as a fellow parent of a baby with a heart defect, and for organizing our meal registry that will help us continue to eat well throughout Lachlan's hospital stay. Thank you also to all of our friends who have signed up to cook for us.
- to Margaret and family, for cooking up a storm and bringing over a week's worth of food.
- to Charlotte, for caring for Finn, being there for me when I need to talk, and making sure we get out of the house for fun times.
- to Eric and Rebecca, for watching Finn and supporting us logistically as we explored options in Philadelphia.
- to Harlan and Pauline, Eric's parents, for being so generous, offering to swap housing if we went to Philadelphia and hosting us in a grand style when we visited the hospital there.
- to Leslie, for being a sounding board and a generous friend, who also happens to make the most amazing sweet potato cupcakes you've ever tasted.
- to our midwife Alison, who continues to call and check up on us even though we had to transfer my OB care to Duke.
- to Bug and family, for the very thoughtful gift of a 6-month subscription to the New Yorker for our reading enjoyment while in and out of the hospital.
- to Siv Jane, for the incredible hand-knit gift of this onesie and socks that arrived all the way from Norway. (Plus extra yarn to make a matching pixie hat!)
- to Karla, my friend from Montessori training, who sent along these oh-so-useful handmade silk undershirts as well as a Velcro-closure cardigan repurposed from an adult sweater:
- to Kim, who sent along this beautiful hand-knit sweater for Lachlan. The yarn is oh-so-soft:
- to Katie, who went ahead and knit Lachlan a Baby Yoda Sweater, because she must have known that I wouldn't have time to knit him one myself!
- to Holly, for the amazingly generous gift of two wool, open-front shirts, as well as a handknit hat and a ball for Finn:
- to Louise, who made a cushiony blanket for Lachlan to enjoy:
- to Anie and friends, who sent along this sweet play quilt for baby L:
- to Nancy, for the shawl knit with love:
- to Miriam, for the cotton, fastener-free newborn shirts from Japan:
- to all of you who have emailed me in the past months, expressing your thanks for my writing here and offering your words of encouragement and solidarity.
For all of this and more (because I'm sure I forgot many-an-expression of thoughtfulness in this list) I thank you. We thank you. Lachlan hasn't even arrived yet, but one day I hope he is as blown away as I am at people's generosity. He may only have half a heart, but it will be filled with warmth. Let's hope that he gets the opportunity one day to participate as the Giver in the Circle.
With love and heartfelt gratitude,
Meg and family