Gratitude for Our Village

Today's Bird & Bear Collective blog post is written by an amazing and strong Mama & Friend who is abundantly grateful for her village of family and friends - Alisha Perdue. She and her little girl have had a painful and stressful couple of months - but have found incredible love, beauty and relationship in the midst. Thank you for sharing your story and your heart with us Alisha. We will continue to send prayers for healing and strength to you, sweet Maggie and your dear family. Happy Thanksgiving.


Thanks goodness for text messaging.  It’s fast, efficient and helpful. And, I love receiving texts. What’s for dinner?  How did your presentation go?   A funny meme for a birthday.  A group chat. All of these messages pack a punch and keep us connected in a few short words or images. 


If you scrolled through my text messages you’d see these and more, like: What do you need me to pick up at the grocery store? I’m available M, T and F this week to come help. We all care about you and are happy to help your family.  


These are just a few word-for-word examples of actual messages received the last 10 weeks, and for that, gratitude fills my heart.  


On Wednesday, October 2nd I learned I had been walking (well, awkwardly hobbling with what I call “mom grit”) on a broken leg.  I was so caught off guard when the doctor called me at home that I asked her to text me what she said. You have a non-displaced fracture in your femur, ACL disruption and a tear in your meniscus. Do NOT walk on it and make an appointment ASAP.   Shocked, I immediately started using crutches, trying to adjust to a new home routine.  My husband and kids needed to pick up the slack more.


Three days later while at soccer practice, our 5-year old daughter tripped while dribbling.  After the coach carried her off the field crying, I text my husband Dan. Maggie’s hurt. I think it’s bad. One parent helped carry her to the car and another one carried our belongings. The entire trip to the hospital I prayed her leg was not broken.  Unfortunately, it was actually a spiral break meaning it was broken in two places. 


Our hospital room did not have service so I had to crutch to the waiting room to text. To the friends that had swiftly picked up two of our other kids: how are the girls? Hope to be out of here in an hour or so.   To our son: how were the SATs? We are in the hospital with Maggie with a broken leg – she’s okay but no service here.  


When we arrived home, we felt her pain had worsened so after some deliberation and talking to another doctor, I sent a text to our babysitter. We have to take Maggie to the hospital…are you available right now?  We packed supplies and hustled to Boston, where after a long wait, they put on a full leg cast.  We fell into our beds after 1:30am. 

  

The next day was tough…actually, the next week was rough. I characterized Maggie’s pain as a 12 out of a 10-point scale. Our other kids were upset seeing her upset.  I was on crutches and had to be careful. We still had soccer, hockey, homework, and groceries to buy and boxes to unpack. (Did I forget to mention we had moved the month before?)  Dan was overwhelmed handling more of “my duties” and now also responsible for carrying Maggie everywhere.  


This blog would extend five more pages if I listed all of the ways our village pitched in to help us.  The first week alone we had what I can only affectionately label as “chaperones.” When Dan couldn’t be home, the village of caregivers carried Maggie to the bathroom; did laundry; helped bathe her; showed up with gifts galore like coloring, knitting, nail polish, crazy cat masks, LOLs dolls, and more to keep busy; brought socks that fit over a cast; and a desk that fit over her lap. 


The mailbox was overflowing with get-well cards, potpies, presents and our favorite Cheryl’s Cookies. My mom drove 12-hours by herself from Ohio to be here, twice. A friend came over to help with physical therapy and provide Maggie with mobility exercises. Someone we had never met before, but are now forever joined together, came with a portable toilet (game changer!!), wheelchair and youth walker…oh, and a roasted chicken and Starburst candy – Maggie’s favorite.  It was awesome and I cried when she left. 


Any food allergies?  A “meal train” delivered dinners a few times a week, preparing more delicious food than what we could ever muster or stand on one leg or even two tired legs to prepare. The meals not only provided for all of us, but also contained enough leftovers for the next day as well as a morale boost with one less thing on our daily “to do list.”   


When Maggie returned to school, the wheelchair accessible van was not ready, so someone came over every morning to help me carry her and the wheelchair to the car.  Another volunteer met me at the end of the school day to pick her up and bring her home. Most of the volunteers repeated this kind act so they knew how to position her leg pillows and knew which book bag was hers without a reminder.  Some days I did not even have to ask. I’m available tomorrow, see you at 8:40am. 


It’s not easy for my husband and I to accept help.  We pride ourselves operating self-sufficiently and a “we-got-this-attitude.”  We are go-getters. It’s not easy admitting one can’t do it on his/her own. We have much to be grateful for in the 2019 Thanksgiving season. My husband, children and I express our utmost gratitude to the people that have helped us.  I have said aloud and repeated often that, “it could be worse.” We have even presented examples for perspective and comparison. But let’s be real: it really could have been worse if not for the wonderful people in our life. 


Thank you to everyone in our corner near and far. Knowing you all are a text away makes us feel safe and loved. We are so grateful to you.  


Happy Thanksgiving! 

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