I don’t like to ask for help. I’m all about listening to advice, but if someone has to actually take time out of their day and come to me to help, I’m not going to ask. Unless I’m desperate. Yesterday, I called my midwife friend for advice regarding Anya’s sickness. I have never had a child this sick and while veteran parents probably sail through the kind of sick where your child disappears for a while, I wasn’t prepared for it. On Sunday night as we drove home, we stopped for a bathroom break and I took Anya out of the car seat. This was just after she’d thrown up about six times in two hours. She was limp, her eyes looking at me, but not seeming to see me. Her limbs moved like a rag doll as I put her through the motions of a diaper change and when I put her to the breast to nurse, she latched but couldn’t suck. I started stroking her cheek and talking softly to her and eventually, she began to nurse. Afterwards she looked a little better and had an hour or two off from vomiting. It scared me big.

So when I called Vickii (the midwife friend) and told her what was happening, she first suggested I make a batch of rice with lots of extra water, then try to get her to drink some of the water. She gave me a few other pointers and then asked if I had any Pedialyte on hand. When I told her I didn’t she said she’d be over in a little bit with some. She also brought me Starbucks and Lily a little bag of chocolate coins. I wasn’t expecting anything other than advice so it felt like an early Christmas present.

Later in the day when I realized I hadn’t eaten, didn’t have any food since I hadn’t been able to get to the store after our trip and couldn’t put Anya down long enough to make something, I started to cry. With only about four hours of sleep, I tried to think of how I could get some food to my family (Lily was already complaining she was very very hungry) and I couldn’t see through to a logical conclusion. I got myself under control, called my mom and she told me she had to go visit a friend who was dying in the hospital. OK. We’re not dying, so the friend wins. Then I thought of Oreet and John. I hardly got through to telling her what I needed before I started crying again and she quickly and calmly told me they’d be right over. They showed up with about four grocery bags full of comfort food, most ready to heat up. It was amazing. AND? They kept hugging me or placing a hand on my arm at just the right moment, collapsing the bubble of isolation and hopelessness I had been feeling up until that point.

I really don’t like asking for help but it is so comforting to know that when I need it, someone will come. And they will hug me and tell me it’s OK and provide what is needed. I feel so lucky to have such amazing people in my life. This year, I guess the universe wanted me to truly understand what it is to be thankful.