Friends are the family we choose . . .

There has been a lot of reflection lately on family and all of the support for our Genevieve. My children are blessed with amazing grandparents from their Grandpa Paul and Papa to my parents that put everything on hold to move into my house and care for Harry & Genevieve, filling in the times when it was difficult for Al and I to juggle everything.  I could not have gotten through this without my amazing Mom and Dad.

Unfortunately, not all the experiences have been good.  I had someone comment that he wasn’t “concerned as most” because she was in one of the best hospitals, had a good support network and came from a line of strong women on his side of the family.  Just not what you say to a mom in the middle of crisis with her child.  When it is your child . . . it is ALWAYS a big deal from getting tubes in their ears to open heart surgery.  When you have to hand your child over to someone else . . . it is always concerning.  In addition to that, make no mistake, Genevieve’s power comes from within.  While I admire the women from his family, it was Al and I . . . and my mom that pulled her through this.  We answered her questions, held her when she was scared and pushed her when she just didn’t want to go to the hospital or take her medicine.  It was a lot to ask of anyone – especially a child and she handled it with strength and grace.  While I was not allowed to respond previously, I will here – because I write for me.

Most of all, this has taught me that friends really are the family that we choose for ourselves.  For a long time, I was devastated that our friends seemed to care more about our daughter than some of our family.  People that have not reached out or made any real effort to see Genevieve during this time.  I don’t care what you may have against us, you don’t take it out on our children.  Al has also tried to silence me . . . I won’t allow anyone to treat my family poorly to maintain peace.

With the support of the family that I choose, Genevieve will never be alone.  Those that have sent care packages to make her smile – from near and far, some with faces that I only know on a computer screen.  All those that take a moment from their day to send me a text or ask how I am doing . . .co-workers, friends from high school and college that I haven’t seen in decades, the wonderful team at Harry & Genevieve’s school.  My friends that drove hours to entertain Harry & Genevieve so that I could have a minute to breathe, that plan playdates and keep me heavily caffeinated after weeks of sleepless nights.  So many people make up Team Genevieve and the support carried all of us through her surgery and beyond.

To those that are struggling – build your network.  There are good people in the world and you don’t have to go it alone.  If you are blessed with an amazing family – people like my parents – then supplement it with the family that you choose.

Team Genevieve


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