When my daughter was attacked by a dog and hospitalized for two weeks, I was inundated with phone calls and good wishes. The prominent statement was "Let me know what I can do for you" and I did. With an 11 year old boy who was driven by his dad every day after school to visit his sister getting visibly devastated looking at her bandages and having cafeteria dinner every night, I asked the ones offering for a relief.
-Can you take him for one day so he doesn't have to come here?
-Can you keep him Saturday so he can go to the pool with your daughter, his classmate?
-Can you feed him?
-Can he watch a movie at home with his classmate?
The answers were as fluent as the offers had been. Every single person who had offered had as many reasons not to help.
-The pool will close this weekend
-I am doing laundry that day.
-I walk my dog every night
-I'm getting my nails done.
On and on it went.
Conversely, there were others who surprised me when they took the day off, or a few hours off their afternoon so they could make it to the hospital on time. They did not offer, they simply asked for my okay to come. A couple of them came to give me a break from my 24 hours in the hospital and allowed me to go for a run. Some came to entertain a girl they hardly knew. They knew me and that was enough for them.
I am remembering this as I drive my daugher once again to a hospital. Now, 20 years old, she is being admitted for different yet very serious issues and the phone calls have poured just the same with a similar outcome. And just the same I have had the offset of the friends, coworkers and relatives driving to bring me coffee, a bagel, a blanket, a jacket. I've had the ones driving the distance to make it on time and the ones who opened their home so I could shower quickly to spend another night in the hospital.
There is one difference this time; I have not been surprised by the ones who texted (okay, that's different from the first time) and didn't come. I didn't expect them and as such as I was not disappointed.
People ask me if this makes me jaded, bitter, and my answer is no. It makes me more realistic, but it does not change the way I am. Nothing is way too late, too far, too difficult when you want to do the right thing.
I have driven at inconvenient times because emergencies don't make appointments and don't come at opportune times! I remember being asked once "you came all the way here in rush hour to see your cousin after her surgery?...yes, because when you care you do the right thing.
But I'm weird and so are those people who do the weird things. The right things.
When you do the right things because they are convenient to you...they are not the right things, they are convenient to you.
2 years ago