Sometimes it’s the littlest things that mean the most.
Over the past few months, simple moments of kindness have gotten my family through a lot of muck and mire. I’ve started and stopped writing this post 10 times now (WordPress keeps count) and I’m still not sure I have the right words to express my gratitude.
Let me begin by telling you a little about the amazing ways people loved us with their actions.
I was able to visit my parents in the hospital nearly every day because of the team of amazing colleagues that I am privileged to call friends. The hospital is just down the street from my office, so I would head over at lunchtime to make sure Mom ate and to visit Dad. To help me take care of my work commitments, my team would hand me hard-copies to edit as I walked out the door, text me art options to approve from the train and email me questions that I could answer on the trip back to the office. They allowed me to work on the way and be fully present while at the hospital. They completely rearranged how we work without saying a word, just showing up for us and holding space for me.
When I got sicker than I have been in years (back-to-back-to-back sinus and ear infections that kept me in bed for nearly two weeks) they picked up the slack. They covered events, wrote stories, held meetings and made sure the work kept moving when I could not. They did it all without hesitation or grumbling. They did it all while covering our whole family in prayer. They did it all so quietly and unobtrusively that I didn’t realize that it was happening.
Friends watched our kids so Husband and I could be at the hospital together with Mom when we needed to. Others picked up the kids from school for playtime and dinner so we could get a little break. Friends understood when we dropped plans or rescheduled at the drop of a hat. We kind of fell off the grid for a few months and friends kept calling, texting, messaging to check on us. They showed up and held space.
When we were able to get back to a somewhat normal schedule, our friends were ready to reschedule those play dates and dinners and outings. Dear friends celebrated by planning an unforgettable treasure hunt for all our kids and an evening of sharing over the kitchen table. Family came in town for the Final Four and the first thing they did was visit with Mom and Dad and love on them. They showered our kids with love and made sure they had a weekend to remember. They accepted us just as we were, right where we were.
Friends, family and colleagues let us know we were seen and heard in so many tiny and huge ways. A line in a card that completely made me come undone. A seat at a luncheon to hear a writer I admire and respect speak. A bouquet of flowers that came at just the right time to let my parents know their support system was larger than they could have imagined. They came to the hospital, sat with my parents, visited, brought non-hospital food for mom and cupcakes for the nursing team. They opened their hearts and their homes. They let us be vulnerable and acknowledged our struggle and strength.
It meant the world to us. It means the world to us.
Mom has been great about writing thank you notes along the way and expressing gratitude in the beautiful way that she does, but I haven’t been able to get there. I haven’t had the words.
A few weeks ago, I celebrated my eighth anniversary at my office. I still can’t believe it’s been that long – it seems like I was just interviewing a few months ago. In the past eight years, I have learned a lot about business, life and friendships. My colleagues, even those who no longer work with us, have become family. Not just like family, but family.
You see, I firmly believe what my Mama told me all those years ago; there are two types of family — those you are born with and those you choose.
So for all our family, birth and chosen, thank you.
Thank you for the texts, phone calls, visits, cards, flowers, play dates, dinners, editing and love you have shown us. You will never know how much it has meant to us.
You have taught me so much about how to love and be loved in these past few months. You reminded me, every day that deep connections are built through vulnerability, honesty and trust.
I will never be able to say how much you mean to us and how much we appreciate all you did, and continue to do, to ensure we know we are loved.
Thank you for your prayers, support and friendship.
Thank you for loving us, just as we are.