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Luckily, I’ve Got This Village

Last week my body fought back. After months of pushing and pulling and running and jumping and multitasking to the point of insanity, my body decided it had reached its limit. The only way to get me to agree and give it a break was to shut down one of its vital functions. It chose walking.

On Thursday morning, I woke up with some fairly substantial back pain and decided that going to yoga would be a good way to stretch it out. So I limped my way through a modified class and then headed home to type something up for a deadline. After an hour in front of the computer, I went to stand up and was completely crippled. Pain shot out from my lower back up my spine, around my rib cage and down my legs. I couldn’t move at all, and I was scared. So I sobbed my way slowly to the nearest chiropractor, spent an hour crying on his table while he moved my spine this way and that, came home feeling no improvement, and laid flat on my back for the rest of the night.

In the morning I was still in pain but capable of hobbling around, so I got up and went to a meeting and then took Laylee to her hearing appointment at Seattle Children’s Hospital. After 2 hours in the car and 2 hours shuffling around the hospital at the speed of a 1-legged turtle, my back was worse than the day before and I showed up at my neighbor’s door bawling and muttering about my plight. I’m actually a little vague on the details here. It’s possible that she found me wandering the neighborhood bawling and muttering and guided me to her home, luring me with promises of spoon-fed herbal tea and homeopathic remedies.

Once inside, she ran her pregnant belly around the house getting snacks for me and the kids and heating hot water bottles. She massaged my back with mysterious German oils, propped me up comfortably, and fed me herbal tea through a bendy straw. She started Laylee on a craft project and made us dinner. She made me promise not to move a muscle until I was well on my way to healing.

It didn’t take much convincing. At that point I was really, really scared about my health … so scared, in fact, that I’ve been basically laying flat on my back for the past several days reading magazines and mooching off my kind friends.

That night my friend Brandi called and asked what she could do. When I told her we were pretty much fine, she told us she’d arrange dinner to be brought for the next three nights. On Saturday she took Laylee Father’s Day shopping, and on Monday she took both kids to the park for a picnic and then kept them at her house for several hours. She brought dinner that night and 2 bags of grocery staples I hadn’t asked for but could definitely use. Who cannot use Little Debbies and breakfast cereal?

Stephanie came over one day and made me and the kids lunch and folded my laundry while we chatted. She brought me a celebrity gossip magazine I wouldn’t have purchased myself but enjoyed thoroughly, and picked up a few more groceries for me. Let me just say that while reading the letters to the editor, I discovered that there are people in the world who are just a little too concerned about Ashlee Simpson’s wedding coverage for my sanity-meter to handle.

Dan moved our mattress to the floor so I could log-roll in and out of it, and he’s worked from home for the past couple of days to fill in the gaps when we needed him. He’s kept up with all the dishes and served as a human crutch and personal slave.

More delicious dinners have shown up magically on my doorstep, and Laylee and Magoo have found no end of playmates big and small to keep them occupied and feeling loved. Having your active and spastic mom suddenly turn into a couch slug is a little unnerving for little people, and having so many other adults willing step in and help me parent has been invaluable.

As I lay here for hours flat on my back, I keep marveling at this amazing little “village” of friends I have, and making all kinds of plans about the kind of village member I want to be when I’m finally vertical again.

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