At the end of each calendar year, I do what most people do. I take stock of life over the last twelve months and prepare to move forward into the new year. The fall of 2012 is forever scarred by the tragedy in Newtown and the disaster that Hurricane Sandy left in its wake. Of course, I am very saddened by this, and I wish the families comfort and strength in the future.
Our family has been surprisingly … ok. Upon hearing about how we fared in the storm, one friend remarked, “Wow, you sure threw everyone off this time.” Most of my friends lost power for extended time periods and a few had property damage. We felt grateful but awkward about our fortunate situation. We had what I described as “power guilt.” For the first time in a while, we found ourselves in a position to help out the people who have given us so much. I discovered something else as well. Although I do believe in the oft repeated phrase “it is easier and more gratifying to give than to receive,” it can also be frustrating. Sure, we hosted meals, friends, electronic devices, showers, the occasional dog and hamster. But I quickly learned that my grateful friends wanted what we couldn’t give them: the comforts of their own homes.
To our many friends who have been there for us in countless ways, I want to thank you. These are tangible ways they have helped.
1) My high school friends: Upon hearing about Leo’s diabetes diagnosis compounded by the celiac disease of the other boys, they generously contributed much needed gift cards to Whole Foods.
2) My friend researched and distributed GF recipes to people to prepare meals for us during the week that Leo was diagnosed with diabetes. She even requested the chefs include the carbohydrate counts with the food delivery!
3) The friends who drove to pick up our cars after we rode the ambulance to the tertiary care hospital from the after-hours clinic.
4) My friend who packed her three young kids in the car and drove to a GF bakery across the county to drop off treats for Ben when he was in the hospital with swine flu.
5) My anesthesiologist friend who has supplied us with several years of tegaderm tape. These have made the kid’s pump sites last longer and reduced my headaches from insurance companies.
6) Our friends who welcome the challenge of having us over with our three rambunctious boys and their crazy dietary restrictions.
7) My friend who ordered a Carvel cake with fudge in the center instead of crunchies for her son’s birthday so Sam could eat it.
8) My friend who always has a cabinet of GF treats for Sam for playdates . One less worry for me.
9) Our friends who generously support us each year in JDRF Walk to Cure diabetes
10) The random calls, texts and emails just checking in…
This list has a few intentions. First, it is meant as a huge “Thank You” to our friends for all you have done, we will never forget it. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Second, for those of you in similar situations who just don’t know how to respond when people ask “how can I help?”, refer them to this list. Deep in our hearts, we hope and pray for a cure for diabetes. In the meantime, there are many tangible and thoughtful ways that others can help you. Please accept their assistance. Giving is contagious, and one day you will have the opportunity to return the kindness.
Wishing everyone a wonderful year in 2013!