Taking Care of Each Other

by Alissa on December 13, 2010

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I am sitting here blubbering and dabbing my eyes with tissues.

The last few days have been really hard.  I went from fine to emergency surgery in 12 hours.  As a consequence of that I can’t pick up my son or clean the house.  As a consequence of that I have a fussy baby and a filthy house.  Levi, soldier that he is, works for us a lot which means Sol and I are home alone a lot.  Then Monday night I came down with the flu.  I vomited a lot and tore a lot of my stitches.  Then Solomon came down with flu and vomited a lot and tore my heartstrings with his helplessness.  All day yesterday I was in bed nauseous and dizzy.  Sol was crying most of the day.  Levi stayed home from work and tried to make sure neither of us wanted for anything.

Needless to say, you guys, I am near the end of my rope.  Physically exhausted.  Mentally drained.  Did I mention what a disaster my house is?

All of this is not why I am blubbering like a fool.  And by that I mean weeping incessantly with that burning “Don’t cry you idiot” feeling in my throat.

I posted all of my sorrows on my local Attachment Parenting message board because, well, I need someone to whine to.  And these women, most of whom I have never met, decided that it might help if they took turns bringing me meals, three times a week, for three weeks.  They realized that not worrying about feeding anyone (including myself) would be a huge weight off my shoulders.)

And THAT is why I am crying.  Partially because I am so touched by the kindness of these women.  I am very, very new to their group and they are rallying around me.  And I’m crying partially because the people I am close to are not doing this for us.  Most of my closest family and friends are 1,300 miles away.  And everyone else is busy, too busy, too wrapped up in their own issues, oblivious maybe.  My sister-in-law has been my saving grace: helping me go to the grocery store, inviting me over so she can help with Solomon and keep me company.

I guess it was just a real kick in the pants for me.  How many times have I known someone who has had surgery, lost a loved one, or had a baby?  And I rarely go out of my way for them.   I rarely bring a meal or offer to take the kids for an hour.  And here I am learning first hand that a meal or a “No, seriously, let me come run a load of laundry and hold the baby for an hour so you can sleep.” can be life-altering when you’re the one who needs taken care of.

How can we take better care of each other?  As parents?  As a community?  Does your community or family take care of each other?  Do you find it as hard to reach out for help as I do?   Take care of each other.  Such small efforts can reap such great rewards!

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Alissa (15 Posts)

Alissa writes at A New History where she blogs about the challenge of authentic living with her husband, Levi and her almost two year old son, Solomon.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorette Lavine December 13, 2010 at 7:33 am

You express your feeling so well…I have been the recipient of the kindness you speak about, after the death of my mother and after open-heart surgery. Food was my consolation…when I really feel low a nice home cooked meal really hits the spot and warms my heart and helps to heal it in all ways physically and emotionally.
Those friends and family that help you make you realize how fortunate you are to have them and they make you realize how others for whatever reason never fail to disappoint.
The ones that disappoint and I am thinking of one person in particular who just does not know the importance of a cooked meal. I think she is just not that warm a person in general…it is just the way she is. At first I let it bother me but realized that this was not a good feeling to hold on to. I let it go….I try to understand instead what makes her the way she is and how she expresses herself which is different than the way I do. She is still a good friend but I sure know her shortcomings and better yet I accept them.

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Martha December 13, 2010 at 11:21 am

Hi Alissa,

So sorry you are going through all that! Here in Austin, our AP community has a food tree group. We cook meals for newly postpartum mamas for the first few months.

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April McArdle December 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I’m a social jackass, too. The world *must* revolve around me, because all around me people do fantastically wonderful things for me and expect nothing in return (right smart folks). And I don’t even have the common decency to pick up the phone and ask how they are half the time.

See? Even my comment to you started with the word “I”.

I’m trying to get myself out of this habit but I am a horribly selfish individual. So . . . I know how you feel.

All that aside (with promises to one another that we’ll get better, yes?), I hope you feel better very soon.

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