friends and neighbors

In the early days just after Calvin was born, and over the years when he was repeatedly hospitalized in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) due to seizures, close friends and neighbors always lent us a hand. I remember, when Calvin was just a few weeks old, dining on a Thai food feast that our friend hand-delivered to our hospital room. Another dear friend brought us many wonderful meals, including sushi, when Calvin was in the PICU; this was no small gesture especially since hospital food, if you can get it, leaves a lot to be desired. At times we bunked with a buddy of mine who lived near the Portland medical center since it was sometimes difficult to sleep with Calvin in the PICU. And once during a cookout we were taken away by ambulance; our hosts brought an array of barbecue, summer salads and dessert on a platter—complete with serving dishes and cutlery—straight to the emergency room.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these comrades since Michael, Calvin and I do not have family that live nearby. Our relatives are spread out in every direction from Florida to California, Arizona and Washington. Fortunately, our kin have been incredibly supportive from afar and have visited us here in Maine on occasion, but because of the distance we cannot enjoy frequent visits from Calvin's Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins.

And, so, during trying times of little sleep and long, tiresome days spent in hospitals our amazing friends and neighbors have brought us sustenance, both nutritional and emotional. Full, homemade dinner spreads have been toted to our house and, subsequently, the dirty dishes vanished! Our friends and neighbors have walked and boarded our dog. They’ve plowed our driveway, taken in our mail, shopped for our groceries and donated clothing, toys and books to Calvin. A kind friend and neighbor, who is a registered nurse, has watched Calvin at night while Michael and I go out. And once, when we had to take Calvin to the ER before the crack of dawn, a close friend came over at a moment's notice to stay with my visiting mother who has Alzheimer’s and couldn’t be left alone.

We might not be in such good shape if not for our friends and neighbors. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a response to your 'firestorm forty-five' from 11-14-10. It's an image I will never forget: The medicine is doing or not doing whatever it is supposed to do. You are desperate, and you start smothering Calvin with kisses on his neck while you tell him that you love him. Mike is caressing his body and legs. As I see things, it was love that saved your little guy. // I happened into somebody yesterday whose wife died tragically and very recently and I had not seen him since she died. He and I would never have thought to hug each other before this. But the image you painted of your response to this seizure had been rolling around in me. I just walked up to him and hugged him, and it was good. (He would have been a little alarmed if I had started kissing his neck.) Hugging him, I was passing on the friend version of Calvin kisses. // The Beatles got it wrong. Love isn't all we need, it's all we have.