Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Amazing Neighbours

Last week when I visited my friend/almost neighbour, she gave me a notebook. She told me that during my sleepless nights (I get a lot of those at times), I should pull it out and start writing out my thousand gifts. See, this dear friend of mine is currently reading the novel, A Thousand Gifts. And it's times like this I believe that I can easily think of a thousand things and people I am thankful for.

One of the things I am most thankful for these days is great neighbours. For anyone who has studied population health, you'll know that one of the social determinants of health is a support network. Well, let me tell you - mine is incredible right now.

A few weeks ago when our cat, Bagheera was having seizures, our neighbour with not one, but two infant children looked after Pea while we took Bagheera to the vet. All with just a couple hour's notice. This is the same neighbour that dropped off soup and muffins when I got hit hard with a cold in November, and the one that welcomed the kids and I into her home when I locked myself out in December.

Every time the snow flies, our next door neighbour shovels our sidewalk as he prepares to leave for work in the morning. Sure, we try to return the favour, but he does it every single time.

Nearly every other Sunday while husband and I go play Ultimate (we bring Pea), our other next door neighbour comes over to watch Bean. She's amazing with her and Bean loves this time with her. This is the same neighbour that lent me pattern books so I could crochet little food toys for Bean for Christmas, and the same neighbour that rescued me twice this week.

You see, Bean came home from daycare last Friday with the stomach flu and was sick Friday through Wednesday. Well, by Sunday, husband was feeling run down and I was desperate to keep Pea healthy. So, I started sending Pea out.

On Sunday, Pea spent 7 hours with my wonderful friends/neighbours a few streets over (same friend that walks with me weekly and gives me a good dose of emotional support on those walks). When I dropped him off, she welcomed me in and fueled me with coffee and a freshly baked cinnamon roll!

When Pea arrived home, we sent him out to his aunties' place. His aunties are a pair of the sweetest women you'll ever meet - they care for our children frequently and they're pals of ours. They're our local family, really. He spent some time at their house until they took him to his auntie's sister's place where he spent some time with yet another of our close friends and Pea's honorary aunties. Pea was out of the house for about 12 hours that day.

Well, come Monday, husband was itching to get out of the house and so he went to play Ultimate (with the aforementioned aunties). Bean still wasn't 100% and needed extra attention, so Pea went next door for a couple hours while I put her to bed.

Finally, the next day, husband woke feeling awful, and Bean was still iffy, so Pea went next door again! (That's when I threw in the towel - I packed the car and drove the kids and myself 2 hours north to my parents' place.)

But I couldn't have done it without my next door neighbour. She watched both kids while I put the finishing touches on the car. And she didn't leave til we pulled out the driveway. I swear if I had hugged her that day I would have cried on her shoulder. I was so emotionally raw after watching my baby get so sick that weekend and battling on low sleep and food.

We are so blessed to have so many wonderful, dependable people so close to us in our life! I didn't even tell you about our daycare provider's daughter who bathed Bean when she was sick, or the food that the notebook friend brought for us, or my mother-in-law who watched the kids on Saturday night while we caught a glimpse of the outside world.

So, yes, I have a LOT to be thankful for. For our return to health, but especially for the love and support of so many while we struggled with our little mole hill that felt like an insurmountable mountain. Thank you all.

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