By late afternoon, today had already been a long day. Charlie had a home health nursing visit followed by a physical therapy session. Afterwards, she tired out and fell asleep. I took advantage of the lull and checked my email.
There was a message waiting for me in my inbox. A friend of mine has chosen to honor Charlie by sponsoring us in the March of Dimes March for Babies. Touched, I teared up.
Gratitude is one of the reoccurring emotions I experience since Charlie’s birth. I have received copious amounts of kindness from so many unexpected places. There are no words to describe how thankful I am.
One of the few clear memories I have from the week Charlie was born is the discovery that close friends had given us the crib we chose for Charlie as a gift. It was completely unexpected and too much. It was perfect for the moment and the confusion surrounding it. They were celebrating our baby’s birth with us. Despite her early arrival, they chose to celebrate instead of treating it as a tragedy. It was a loving and supportive gesture.
During Charlie’s NICU days, I remember the nurse that patiently explained my baby’s condition to me each morning. She taught me how to change Charlie’s diaper and perform her “hands on” care. Our conversations filled many of the long days that I sat alone in the NICU. I feel like she not only took good care of Charlie but she held my hand through the early months of NICU parenting as well.
One of my friends was studying abroad when Charlie was born. She came home by the time Charlie was released from the NICU. She was unable to meet Charlie until Charlie was six months old. After spending the day together laughing and catching up, she sheepishly handed me a bag. She explained that it was a dress that she purchased abroad for Charlie. The dress was beautiful. I treasure it because I realize that she was thinking of Charlie and I in the NICU despite being a world away.
I will finish by mentioning the friend that found time in her busy schedule to frequently visit when Charlie was transferred to a level 2 NICU. She brought scrap booking materials so I could finish the scrapbook I started in a NICU class. She understood what I needed with out me having to say it.
A handful of people reached out to us. There are many ways in which people were gracious in words and actions. From health professionals to complete strangers, I will not forget the compassion demonstrated towards me. From it, I have ascertained a deeper meaning of gratitude.