Our little village… #twinslife #nicu

It takes a village…it truly takes a village. I am sitting here completely overwhelmed and overjoyed.

First of all, on this Father’s Day…I was able to have the whole family in one place. We were able to take Rosebud to the NICU and spend time with the twins. Even though we had only fifteen minutes in the room with Rose, it was the most precious fifteen minutes I can remember.

After leaving the hospital, I began to think about the day, the week, and really the past fifteen days. It has been a whirlwind to say the least. There are so many people that use the saying, it takes a village…I am now a true believer.

I wrote a letter to the ministers at Boulevard Baptist Church the day before the twins were born; I thought I would share some my thoughts from that letter.

“I have never been so humbled and so thankful for the out-pouring of community these last few weeks. When Rose was born, we were new to Anderson, new to Boulevard, new parents, and had a limited community to help. We had our family, but as you know a family’s reach and help is limiting in scope…it can come with a slight amount of crazy as well. :)

Over the last few years, we have truly began to experience the life of the church. It is not because we are involved with committee’s, Sunday School, Sunday services, etc. It is because we have found a community inside Boulevard.

I remember when we first started to attend Boulevard, we jumped around in Sunday School classes trying to find a connection. If it was not for Ellen sending us to the Seekers, we might have fallen off the map. What we found in that class was a beginning, the foundation to many wonderful relationships. Now we have a whole class of grandmothers and grandfathers who have taken an active role in Rose’s life. We will always be thankful for those experiences, and feel connected to the Seekers in a special way.

As we have experienced this path through the Dawnings process, I have been truly thinking what church means to me and our family. I grew up at Clemson First Baptist completely engaged as a young person in Youth Activities, Mission Trips to Americus, GA for Habitat, and the numerous car washes and fundraisers during Clemson Football home games. Clemson First Baptist was home to me. I want that for Rose, George, and Henry.

Boulevard has been engrained in our DNA and because of the many relationships formed over the years, we have received an overwhelming out-pouring of support. Sarah and I have always been the caretakers in our family, helping with so many emergencies. We sometimes do not know what to do when Luis and Hollins show-up at the hospital bringing dinner for us. It brings tears to my eyes in thankfulness and humility. I never understood what it truly meant to have a church family until these last few weeks.

I write this because I want to say thank you. Thank you for your constant ministry and spiritual leadership in our lives. But, more importantly…thank you for cultivating a culture of community right here at the corner of Boulevard and the world. Our little world has grown over the past few years and continues to grow with George and Henry on the way. It gives me great comfort knowing that right around the corner from our little house on North Street sits something large than words…a community that truly cares about us.”

As I reflect on these words, I have truly come to realize and appreciate that this concept of community is far reaching beyond Boulevard Baptist Church. Our village has grown tremendously since we had Rose.

Sarah’s sister Jennifer has set-up a “meal train” for us, providing open slots for people to sign-up and commit to bring a meal for our little family. It is my understanding that so many people in Anderson have committed to bringing us a meal.

Friends have been so generous providing gas cards for us given we will be making daily trips to the NICU at Greenville Memorial Hospital, sometimes twice a day. I have received numerous notes, emails, Facebook messages, correspondences from friends that are close by and far away. Sarah and I are completely overwhelmed with the generosity and do not even know where to begin saying thank you.

As we walk down the halls of the NICU, we see families with long faces, tired eyes, and slow walks to the cafeteria. We hear stories of wonderful outcomes and heartbreaking situations …some of which we can and cannot relate.

This morning was important to me.

Today was more than just Father’s Day, it was a day to hit the reset button and prepare the family for a long few weeks. Sunday’s are ritualistic around our house. Going to church is more than just about a faith journey, it has become a community of connection, a place of rest and reset.

Over the past few weeks, Rosebud has been jumping from a beach trip with my mom and nana to staying with Sarah’s sister…she is tired and needs her little cave time. Today was about reseting the routine, re-establishing a routine, and reminding Rosebud that her parents place her in the utmost priority.

We made sure we attended church so she could get back to her familiar places and familiar faces. Afterwards was lunch with church friends, people she is comfortable with and can feel like a kid again. Then we took a trip for her to see the boys. She was able to use her fifteen minutes for interacting, touching, and getting to know her brothers. That is a lot to squeeze into one visit, but vital to her connection.

She did not stop the whole time in the room, going back and forth between George and Henry. It was like watching a tennis match. One would open their eyes and she wanted to see and learn how to touch. She knew the rules understanding to wash her hands after touching George and Henry. She was not only compliant, but completely embracing her role as a big sister. After the fifteen minutes, she was completely exhausted…not physically tired but mentally tired from choosing which twin to give attention. We could see that exhaustion, we could see that overwhelmed stare in her eyes after walking out the door. Her little brain needed some space, some downtime, an afternoon of rest and reset.

The village has provided so much for us including Rosebud. She will be spending time with her favorite people this week, people who are a part of the village. Each person knows Rosebud’s complexities, her intricacies, her special need to connect with familiar souls. It takes a special village to understand the inner being of a family.

A village is bigger than a group of people committed to help a family in need. A village is a community of people that are not only committed to the well being of that family, but also committed to providing a safe space with love, refuge, and direction. We have found our village and they have provided.

There are so many people to thank and we do not know where to begin. This journey has just begun and the village keeps on providing. If I see you, I might hug you…because I am so thankful to all those people who have chosen to be a part of our lives and help us build and amazing village!