Last time I was here, a million years ago, I talked about your surgery and how scary that was. Now that we know the end of the story - you're here, all smiling and happy and healthy, we can talk about something else Mommy and Daddy learned from that surreal time.
But first, a
You see baby, you are going to learn every single little thing in life. Hopefully, you'll learn all the majors things like kindness, respect, how to cook rice, quite early. Eventually, there'll be one or other lesson skipped that will come back to bite you later on in life. To us, this lesson was gratitude.
During your week long stay in hospital, we only made it to the other end because we had help. Major help. Not only we had an army of people praying for you, we also had nurses to watch over you and teach me how to operate a breast pump, doctors that answered our questions everyday at 8am rounds and even tried to speak spanish, house-elves that delivered breakfast, lunch and dinner in the NICU parent room we were so kindly occupying. We had friends coming over to visit to make sure we were still sane. We had family to feed the dog and the cat and make sure the house was still standing.
We had Family and Friends making sure we were loved. Making sure we were strong enough to love you enough. Forever a debt bigger than we could ever repay.
That, my darling son, is gratitude. To acknowledge when someone has done something for you and to be thankfull. Forever thankfull in this situation, because everyday when I change your outfit and see that scar on your back, a twinge of memory passes through my heart and I say a little prayer for Friends and Family who were there, in body and mind. Thank you.
Also in this subject of lessons, with the help of a fast-food clown we learned the difference between charity and pity.
The Ronald McDonald House South Island
A couple of days after surgery, when we (us and the doctors) didn't know how long your recovery would be and when you'd be able to breastfeed, we (Daddy and I) were offered a bedroom to stay in the Ronald McDonald House, because our home was too far from the hospital and the parent room was needed for other people.
This happened without us asking for it and more importantly, without an ounce of pity. It was a very matter-of-fact situation: this couple needs to be near their son, let's find them a place to stay free of charge for as long as they need, with heaps of food available and a place to leave their own food and stuff. So we went.
Nobody asked us anything and that's when we learned the difference: all this happened not because they pitied us and we looked like poor, miserable people who couldn't possibly afford accomodation in town. No. This happened because we needed it and they could provide. No pity, just charity. To be in the receiving end of such love is a humbling experience. Humbling indeed. They gave us something at that moment we didn't know we needed: a place to regroup and to be human again.
It's an amazing place, truly fantastic, 5 minutes walk from NICU at Chch Women's Hospital. I honestly have no words to describe this magical land, so please if you've made it this far in Oliver's story, visit the website and see for yourself the fantastic work they do.The kitchen alone deserves an award. And all the baking and goodies and stuff! The kindness of the staff, the perfectly cozy bedroom, the outdoor area, the garage. The beautiful gifts for Oliver and me. All that still overwhelms me. I hope they keep this up for many many years to come. Although we were there only for 4 nights, our debt of gratitude is enormous and we hope to pay them back in kind. So many families helped by them, so many painful situations, so much love going around.
So again I ask: visit their website. Donate if you can. If you can't, spread the word. Thank you, so many times. Thank you.