How to follow up on That Time I Trashed My Daughter’s Coat post? Was a doozy of a message that I felt grateful to have been able to write. Was also grateful to be on the receiving end of the bounty of love and support the email generated. You know what is remarkable about this generous and kind tumble of support (over and above the kind and generous support)? It is completely aligned with hospital bed life musings. And a sensible and thematic follow up to share on this day where we celebrate love…Valentine’s Day.
Not often (thankfully?) is one given the opportunity to dwell alone in a dark room for some 50 plus hours with only nurse check in’s and the occasional landline phone call to interrupt one’s thoughts. No tv. No phone. No family. No computer. No dogs. No obligations but that of improving one’s physical (and mental) well being.
While sleep and wondering what the _____ (insert 4 letter word of your choice) happened filled the majority of my hospital time, my brain did allocate some moments to assessing the various stages of my life in some detail. Life stage by life stage. Decision by decision. It is a useful and illuminating exercise that I would encourage you to try if you can nab some solitary moments to yourself.
Won’t bore you with the details, but at each and every stage I did conclude it was not the variety of experiences that mattered – it was the people who were there with me during the experience that mattered. It is the people and the memories with those people that matter still and will always matter while I am lucky enough to matter.
Small example of a couple of the silent questions I asked in my head… Was publishing the right career choice? Should I have stopped working when the kids arrived on the scene? Both answered with shudders of the unthinkable thought of the people I would NOT have met or learned from or laughed with should I have made different life choices. The people (maybe you!??) were the life prizes of each choice, firmly confirming that both decisions (and a million others) were indeed the exact right choice. See where I am going here?
This “people who need people” conclusion is perhaps a little or a whole lot of corny and fairly unoriginal, but really as someone who “peddles” experiences – a bit of a revelation. Experiences, accomplishments, titles, promotions, travel, endurance races, on and off Broadway shows, live music, dining out, volunteer positions, a park in the middle of a city, views of waterfalls, sunsets, long walks in the woods, etc. While all lovable experiences and activities that enrich our lives, not one of these life affirming experiences will:
- offer to drive to Maine to drive your family home and help with the logistics
- gather and mail your kids their school learning materials to Maine
- carefully and expertly quarterback your care
- meet you and your wounded self at LL Bean cause, well, you are in Maine and that is the LL Bean’s of all LL Bean’s and you did need new snow boots
- kindly offer and then actually fly your family (including 2 dogs) home
- create a sign up genius to organize an abundance of food to be delivered to the family
- write out healthy meal plan suggestions to speed the recovery
- make you a healthy dinner or beautifully presented grab and go snack packages
- rush over a steak dinner because your husband has had enough of the healthy dinners
- help you assemble your own care packages for the nursing staff in Maine
- send 2 pairs of fuzzy slippers and a whole array of fuzzy (and spicy) things to up your elegant lounging game
- send books to ensure your recovery time is filled with literary entertainment
- check in with you daily
- send a super thoughtful care package in the mail with healthy soup, snacks, the coziest of blankets and a bell to summon help (we mostly used that to tease Florence)
- send a jackpot of Daily Harvest overnight oats
- send gorgeous fresh flowers (and homemade brownies)
- mail you cozy loungewear
- have your favorite juices delivered
- send collagen and probiotics to boost the healing
- invite you for outdoor margaritas at Maz Mescal
- write nice notes in all sorts of mediums
- rush over your favorite Levain cookies
- reach out with a phone call
- walk for miles in the park to feed birds with you by hand
- pop up for socially distanced visits
- drop off an abundance of lemons because she knows you get panicky if there is a lemon shortage in the house
- send five boxes from Fresh Direct chock full of healthy, healing, and tasty snacks
- send you a super cheerful floral puzzle on a super snowy day
- make you laugh out loud even though it hurts your fractured ribs
Your posse, your peeps, your tribe, your network, your friends, your GROUP does that. So true story…I always believed it was the GO part that was the most important part of Grab your Group and GO but nope…turns out it was always the GROUP. I LOVE MY GROUP. I have learned how to be a better friend from seeing my group in action. I am a lucky person. And that is my hospital bed life lesson.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Hug the ones you love. They are the one’s that matter.
Recovery update: While my head is still numb and sleep is still one of my favorite things to do, I am okay. Don has more broken things and remains in a lot of pain. We are hoping that more regular PT and time will help right his listing ship. Michael is breathing better every day, going on daily walks, and can now sleep flat. We talk about the accident often as a family and believe Margaux is in a good place with everything. Both kids are staying close to home more and taking excellent care of us. The dogs while not super useful do their best to keep us cozy and entertained. Next week we will get our new car. NYC is a funny place to live as you only have to gander out your window even on a rainy and gray day to realize life goes on with or without you. Grateful to be in the WITH category and look forward to making the most of it with MANY of you the second we are able.