There’s an old African proverb which has made its way into popular parlance about it taking a village to raise a child.
Sadly, in this day an age the ‘village’ concept isn’t always possible to achieve. I for one always thought it was out of my reach.
I am a stranger in the town I call home. I moved here for love. My own family members are 100 miles away and more. My best friend is a three hour drive away. The idea of a ‘village’ was never one I thought I could be a part of. But this week, I was proved wrong.
This week, I was shown that the ‘village’ in the sense of community and overwhelming love is alive and well. And I truly do not know how on earth I would have got through this past week without my very own village.
We have had the week from hell. My younger (by a massive 30 seconds) daughter was hospitalised almost a week ago now. She is home now and on the mend but we have had an horrific and terrifying week. In getting through it, we realised how incredibly fortunate we are to be surrounded by a network of such wonderful people. Our very own village.
A village doesn’t have to be the people who physically surround you. Our village turned out to be a mixture of people on our doorstep and people further away who managed to remain close despite physical distance.
There are so many people who have made this last week so much more bearable. The NHS staff were wonderful. There’s a little group of Mummies who took me in when my twins joined their children’s playgroup and now our children are all at school together we feel like a special little family. We talk every single day. Fleetingly at school when we get the chance but a huge amount of the talking, and venting, and laughing, is done via a social media group which has been a lifeline not just this week but really for its whole existence. Those ladies have no idea how much they, and our little social media family, mean to me. Little things that they, and other people have done this week have made things so much easier. From a hug in the playground to a beep and a concerned wave in traffic, to an envelope of festive stickers for the girls to share when they are both on top form to a craft kit and colouring book to keep the little one occupied in hospital. These are just some of the little things that have made a huge impact this week. We have been inundated with a steady stream of messages of love and support and offers of help. Midnight messages of support from my favourite Mummy blogger, who I encountered quite by chance, made that first night in hospital so much easier.
My brother is always the first person I call in times of crisis. He’s the lighthouse when the seas get choppy. His very pregnant fiancee was all set to drop everything and drive for hours to pick up and look after their oldest niece so we didn’t have to worry about her while her sister was getting sorted. My best friend, though far away physically, was with me the whole time and I know she spent days watching her phone, waiting for me to text her and tell her I needed her. My parents had gone away on a much needed but ultimately ill-timed holiday somewhere off-grid in America and I didn’t want to trouble them because I ruined their last holiday by tracking them down, by Facebook, to a campsite a mile above sea level somewhere in North Carolina to break the news that my beloved Grandmother had passed away suddenly. Their holiday before that was cancelled because said Grandmother was very poorly. Once I did let them know, they were ready to drop everything and fly home but I put my foot down and insisted they stay where they were. My lovely in-laws stepped up to the plate, with my mother-in-law dropping everything to play host to our older twin – entertaining her by wrapping Christmas presents and doing crafty stuff with lots of glitter. My father-in-law played taxi driver so we didn’t have to negotiate the abysmal hospital parking situation and kept us in snacks to keep our strength up.
As for my husband, I don’t even know where to start. He has been the one to hold it all together. He is the one who is still being blanked because he had to help hold our screaming daughter down while doctors tried desperately to take blood from her severely dehydrated foot. He is the one who went to the hospital shop to buy me ‘womens’ things’ and cups of coffee because I couldn’t put our poorly baby down. He has had to do all of the running around, All of the grown-up stuff and all of the navigating as the metaphorical wheel came off. He has had to put up with me on top of dealing with the fact his baby was seriously ill. He, as always, has been the rock I have clung to to sit out the turmoil around me and he is the very bedrock on which my village was built.
I will never again (I hope) underestimate the power of a small gesture to someone who is struggling. These are the gestures that have made all the difference this week.
I haven’t finished the Christmas shopping, I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present or written a single card, our decorations are still in the loft and I’ve never been less prepared for Christmas. But I don’t care. Because my baby is bet I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be surrounded by so much love and these wonderful, wonderful people.