I can’t believe I didn’t put up a blog post about this at the time. In December, a blog my sister reads called Mama Laughlin decided to tell the stories of some families who’ve had a rough time of it lately and encourage readers to help out. Unbeknownst to me, my sister shared Teddy’s story with the blog’s author and she amazingly chose him as one of the stories to feature. And we were floored by the response. I hastily started up a page at Fundraise for Teddy since we don’t quite have his COTA account set up yet. People donated. People sent Paypal. People sent gift cards to Target. People sent well wishes and cards. Many, many more people are praying for our Teddy Bear. One woman sent us some cloth diapers she wasn’t using, as well as a lovely Christian CD by her husband. Several people in Des Moines and Iowa City contacted me, offering practical help as needed, and I think my sister’s gotten some contacts, as well.
It was absolutely overwhelming. I’m still not entirely comfortable with the whole Accepting Help From Others thing. It’s amazing how humbling it is. And awkward.
One of the gifts we received was particularly touching, and I feel TERRIBLE about it at the same time. We got an envelope (with a return address) that contained 4 Walmart gift cards and a letter explaining that their office gives these cards as a gift to employees at Christmas. A Mama Laughlin reader told her coworkers about Mr. Teddy, and they all decided to send their cards to us instead of keeping them for themselves. I teared up a little. I put the envelope and letter next to my laptop. Wally was working on a Christmas-themed wood block print for school and I was going to use one of his cards to send a thank you note. And then the envelope with the address on it walked off. My kids are kind of envelope thieves, they love envelopes. They’re constantly writing letters or drawing pictures and putting them in envelopes to “mail” them. And they have play envelopes. But I still suspect that this envelope got used to deliver a picture somewhere. The end result is that I’d really like to thank the ladies (gents?) in that office, but I have no idea where they’re located. So I’m hoping you read this blog? If so – thank you. That was so very kind. And I’m using the cards for groceries!!
And, to everyone else. Thank you. So much. For contributions to Teddy’s transplant fund. For fun things for my big kids to do during boring hospital trips, doctor appointments, etc. For thoughts and prayers and well wishes. All of it. Thanks.
We’ve been trying to pay it forward ourselves as we’re able. When I’m in the hospital with Teddy, I often knit hats for The Preemie Project. I’ve taken in lots of baby clothes and preemie clothes, made and purchased hats and socks for the sock and mitten tree, sponsored a few Christmas gift bags for NICU moms over Christmas (it’s an angel tree that Volunteer Services at UIHC has set up).
And I’ll be sending an update to Mama Laughlin this week, as well.