It Takes a Village

Certain people tell us that because we live so far away, we have "no support".  They say that living at a great distance from our family will cause severe relational problems in the future.  They say that they are missing out on the lives of their grandchildren.  It makes me sad to think about these things.  The truth is, we do not want to live so far from our family, and we have absolutely no intention of keeping Greenville as our permanent residence.  For right now, this is where we are, and we have to make due.
But, as for the "no support"... I can not disagree more.  Throughout the last month and a half, throughout my hospitalization, birth, NICU runs, and even now that our baby is home I have been astonished by the amount of support given to us by family, friends, students and neighbors.
As soon as I was hospitalized, my mom booked a flight and was in town the very next day to help take care of Marco.  It was important to me that his daily life was not interrupted or too out of whack because I was missing.  She was here for 17 days and did an amazing job holding down the fort and keeping my son happy.
Once my mom left, my mother-in-law arrived to take over.  She also became Marco's buddy... taking him to the park, to bouncing babies and wherever else he could release some energy.  Throughout her time here, she made sure all I had to worry about was going to the NICU.  She made meals for us everyday and enough to freeze for later meals.  It was delish!
And this week that just passed, my father and step-mom came into town.  They kept Marco entertained so that I could devote more time to Jonas.  They took Jonas from me and forced me to nap!  Vivian cooked and cleaned and did laundry and even took me on a shopping spree!  I was totally spoiled!
Well, that was all family, and although their time here was invaluable to me, it was also sorta expected.  I expect to be able to lean on and rely on my family during my time of need... and boy was this a time of need!  I am grateful they were all able to take days off of work, book flights and come up to be my slave for a few days.
There were 2 weeks in between family visits where we were on our own.  Jonas was still in the NICU, so in order to be able to see him during the day, I had to find a sitter for Marco.  And in order for Mau and I to be able to visit with him in the evenings, again I had to find a sitter.   So, 2 babysitters PER day! I was amazed at how many people offered and where able to take time out of their lives to watch my little boy.  During the day, I had Carol, Brooke, Anne (Carol's mom), and Kim stay with him.  Anne even took the day off of work!  At night, we had Stefania and Leo, my student Anna, and Kim (with baby Sloane).  I was so touched that people came over after being busy all day to sit at our house while we went to the NICU.
Although I appreciate everyone, My MVP babysitter was Kim.  I've only known Kim a few short months, after meeting at the community pool.  We quickly became friends and see each other at bouncing babies, and around the community while she walks her dog.  When she offered to help me, I don't know if she thought I'd really take her up on it.  She came over with her little 9 month old daughter, Sloane, and spent several evenings sitting on my couch while we went to the NICU.  She rearranged her "night time" schedule, to help me.  (Moms, be honest... that "night time schedule" is sacred... would you have rearranged it?  I don't know if I would have.)  When we'd return at 10:30pm, she'd wrap up her sleeping baby and walk back to her apartment.  Then, on the day we were bringing Jonas home, we asked her to watch Marco from 12:30-4... which turned into 12:30-8.  She was super patient and was not even phased by the fact that we were 4 hours late... I, on the other hand, was about to have a nervous breakdown.  Thank you, Kim!  Thank you for teaching me what it is to put others before yourself and for being so kind and generous with your time.
Other kinds of support have been shown to me as well.  For example, my pump rental had run out, and my friend Hannah had read my post about how I was a slave to the pump and had to pump at home because of the size of it.  Well, Hannah, out of the kindness of her heart, offered to lend me her amazingly effective, amazingly small, and amazingly expensive ($400) pump!  The Medela Free Style.  It rocks!
We also received some yummy support.  This is such a southern thing too... it just doesn't happen in Florida.  I have a baby, and everyone wants to bring me food?  Uhh, ok.  I had never realized what a difference having a meal that I didn't have to consider, plan or create made.  Truth be told, I'm not the chef in my house anyway... but still!  Ok, so Mauricio didn't have to worry about cooking... still great!  The ladies from my MOPS group signed up to bring us meals for nearly two weeks while we were still coming and going from the NICU.  It made our lives so much less stressful... just one less thing to worry about.  Cathy brought us some amazing meatball subs, Lynette brought us hibachi grill meals, Rachael brought us two strombolli's, Cindi brought us some homemade pasta, and Jennifer also brought us some delish pasta.  I was so amazed by the generosity of these women!  These are women with families of their own to feed, and children of their own to care for, and here they were preparing and DELIVERING meals to my family!  And they did not skimp!  Each meal was prepared with thoughtfulness and love... they included extras like bread, salad and even dessert!  I mean, seriously!  It was a full service.  I was so humbled by the servitude of these women... that they would spend their precious money, time and energy to help out a family they barely know.  In reality, although these women are in my MOPS group, I do not know any of them.  They all signed up for this, not because they were my friends and felt obligated, but because they are all Christian women who know what it means to serve.
Throughout all of this I have learned a million lessons.  I have learned that we are not alone and that people are always eager to offer their support.  I have learned that our routines can not be as important as other people's needs.  I have learned that a little sacrifice on my end can make the world of a difference on someone elses end.  I am so blessed to have been on the receiving end of this deal.  I pray that I remember the lessons I've learned through other peoples humility, servitude, generosity and kindness.  I hope that I can one day be on the giving end and pass the blessings on to other people who are in need.