I feel like I haven't properly thanked the people who stepped up to help us this summer while we were dealing with the fall out of the stroke.
Some very kind and generous people took time out of their lives to help us. My co workers provided us with a M&M's gift card and ice creak cake (for Phoenix). A number of families from the DS community stepped up and provided child care for my kids on an almost weekly basis. These moms of 3 other kids themselves brought their kids with them to our house and gave me time to go to the hospital to visit Mike during the day.
It was a total recipe for chaos: 6 children running around the house and needing to be fed, diapered etc. Yet I would return home from the hospital to a quiet house, all children sitting around the kitchen table and happily eating lunch together. I have NO idea how they did that. I NEVER feel that calm and collected, especially not with that many small children. I'm never that calm and collected with even just my own kids. yet somehow these moms had it together. It was pretty impressive to watch.
Jen (my friend and Phoenix's aide) spent a LOT of time looking after the kids for us, especially in the first few weeks after the stroke. We love Jen. I found Jen by chance while looking for some help with the twins when they were newborns. She had a great background in child and youth work and a willingness to learn how to care for twins. She's also an identical twin herself. We gradually adapted the kind of support we were looking for and brought Jen on as Phoenix's developmental aide. It's a fine balance of pushing P to try tasks that are difficult balanced with understanding that some days children are less able to be challenged because of sickness, tiredness, feeling overwhelmed or sensitive etc. Jen makes this process look effortless and Phoenix (and the little girls) just love Jen as much as I do. I seriously believe that everyone should have a Jen to help them.
We had other friends come and take the kids for a one time shot this summer too. This was also just so appreciated and allowed me to just feel like a normal person by being able to take breaks, or visit Mike or go to appointments etc.
Last but not least is my mother. My mother continues to be a wonderful support. Even just to have another adult to talk to over dinner or during the day. I imagine that one of the most challenging parts of being a single parent is loneliness. Having no one other than your kids to talk to each day. No one to share the challenges of the day or that funny incident that happened at work. I was so thankful to have that during the 6 weeks that Mike was hospitalized, as well as the care and attention she gives the kids and the support and guidance she can give to whichever caregiver stepped into my shoes on any given day.
It takes a village.
It's probably one of the most over used phrases I can come up with, but this summer, it was true. It took a village to help keep us going. So for everyone who sent messages, called, gave time or money or energy to us THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank you.