We Take Care of Our Own
The folks in our small town knew just what to do when my family needed a helping hand.
y baby brother came into the world two weeks after I started high school. At
14, I was the oldest of three and hoped this baby wasn’t going to rain on my parade very much. Being a big sister again just wasn’t part of my plan.
But two minutes after Keith was born, Mom had a stroke. The doctor told Dad if it had happened during the delivery the stroke likely would have killed them both.
When Dad came home, he said the future was uncertain because Mom might not survive. I was so scared when he pulled me onto his lap and said, “Well, little girl, looks like we’ve got a baby to raise.” My strong father was clearly petrified. He was unintentionally leaning on me to help him through it.
But I need not have worried. Keith’s arrival brought out the very
Mbest in Wayland, Michigan. The old saying, “We take care of our own,” was never better illustrated. A young couple in our church offered to care for Keith until we could manage him ourselves. I can’t believe they were willing to take on a newborn when they had two young boys at home. Their help made all the difference.
We benefited from many other acts of kindness. The local Catholic church held a Mass for Mom—and we weren’t Catholic! Meals showed up at dinnertime for weeks. The lawn got mowed, and I don’t think Dad even knew who was doing it.
Keith stayed with his surrogate family for over a month—and the story ends happily. He grew like little babies do, Mom recovered, and I grew up a little faster than planned, but oh so grateful.
Years later, my friend Helen found out she was going to have twins, and her little girl would be 15 months old when the babies arrived. Not only did we hold a baby shower, but I marshaled the effort to have dinner delivered for the first few weeks she was home.
Helen, who grew up in a suburb in California, had never heard of such a thing—people going out of their way to help someone else. She was used to not even knowing her neighbors. But I said, “We’re transplanted Midwesterners, and we take care of our own!”
Patti (left), Mom and sister Debbie