Happy Birthday, Maddy!

When Maddy turned seven, our family celebrated by beginning a new chapter that was be life changing, helped to raise awareness for those suffering from food allergy, and helped educate people about OIT. Now, as Maddy turns 8, and will begin the 3rd grade, so many possibilities are open to her as a child that doesn't have food allergies standing in her way!

Find Maddy's Seven Year Itch on Facebook!

Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my other blog, The Best Medicine, about my husband's battle against cancer.

Friday, September 28, 2012

It Takes a Village

Fireworks gazing.
More than once in my life as a mother I've said to myself, “Thank God I am not alone,” when it comes to raising my baby girl. And when I say I am not alone, I don’t mean  'I ‘m a married woman with a Superhero husband putting in equal to more hours 'round the house, helping with our babe, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the animals and other domestic duties.' We all know that’s just not true. My husband is pretty fantastic – he is hilarious, works hard at his own 9 - 5'er, and is a better father than I ever imagined he’d be, but when it comes to all the rest - we both struggle to balance our life - family, work, household duties and still have time for each other at the end of the day. Our focus is family, mostly our daughter and the other important moments in life - romance, friends, 'Great's Anatomy,' and, a stiff drink once in a while. The reality is, though that we couldn’t and don’t do it alone. My husband and I rely on so many people to make it all happen. That old adage is true and has been a central theme in our home since Maddy was born - it truly takes a village to raise a child, and we are ever grateful for those who “live” with us!

Maddy's 'Entourage,' dress up in Star Wars theme - 2011.
Some of the very important members of Maddy’s “entourage,” or our village, are Jason's family. On this side of the family she is the first and only grandchild, the Princess of the family first and foremost. Shortly after she was born, in fact, Jason’s parents, and his godmother sold their two homes, about 75 miles from us and bought one home to live in just a few minutes away  just so they could  be a part of her daily life (and ours, too, I should hope!). In fact they weren’t just a part of her daily life; they became her daily life! Grandma and Nanny (as Jason’s godmother came to be called) were Maddy’s daycare providers from the day Maddy turned 3 months old and I, begrudgingly, returned to work. Every day I had the privilege of sending my baby off with people that I knew loved my daughter nearly as much as I did, something few people have in their daycare experience. As she grew, her bond with them was fortified daily with education, experiences, and the greatest ingredient – love.
Don't get me wrong, Jason's family are not the only village members who've made a difference in raising Maddy, just the small section of focus for now, and that little borough, Grandma, Papa & Nanny, just a few miles away from our home, have been there for us through thick & thin. When cancer came calling, just before Maddy’s fourth birthday, not one of us could possibly have expected it. However, this “village” took it upon themselves, to help us raise Maddy together. They assisted at our cooperative preschool while I took days off for chemotherapy. Grandma & Nanny picked Maddy up Sunday mornings and took her to church so I could take just 3 hours off to myself once a week - some much needed me time to rest, relax, and, let’s face it – get the dishes done.  When the cancer spread & we were on surgery two, Kindergarten had started & they carted Maddy back and forth from the hospital to home, then back to our home to see me for just a few hours. It was hard on them, but it was all for her, for us.
Chef Nanny & Maddy.

They do a million little things that add up to big things - take Maddy in to the doctor, keep her home for sick days, and are there if school gets called off. Papa is the first in line to pick her up from the bus stop when we can’t and take her home when meetings run late. Nanny cooks with her, crafts with her, and they all read, do homework, fish, play, and pretend with her. The list goes on. To count what Nanny, Grandma and Papa have done for us in these years would be impossible. I’ll stop while I’m ahead. I cannot think of a time or a situation that they have let us down, been unable to help us out, or be a part of our lives when we needed them - and we have asked them too many times to count! They are remarkable, truly remarkable.
Often I am reminded of my luck. I do reiterate my thanks to them with a “thank you” out the door, on the phone, or in a text regularly, but truly - a million thank you’s couldn’t be enough. In fact, when many folks hear & understand the relationship we share with Jason’s parents and godmother, they share stories about themselves – about their pasts, their own children, and what they wish for the future. Many wish their families were closer, or that they were once close with family when they were young, or another story that always solidifies our extreme gratitude for our own situation. When it comes to Maddy’s peanut allergy, we realize our appreciation for them especially  – to have family help manage food allergies is a blessing. They are trustworthy and it helps that we are not alone – all adding up to allowing Maddy’s life experiences to be more rich and positive.
One of my favorites - all  three surround her & support her, as always.
I was especially reminded of our good fortune on two separate dosage increase appointments in these past weeks. Both September 5th and September 12th, Maddy did exceptionally well. Her body and mind were in it to win it! She had no hives, no tummy upset, and no issues to speak of. Also, both visits were oddly quiet at Dr. Mayer’s office. In fact, the good doctor had the opportunity himself to sit and chat. Each visit, I was able to speak with the support moms that I’ve come to know and love. One of the moms mentioned she didn’t have much family close & her daughter, unfortunately, had no grandparents nearby to visit regularly. I thought of the laughter & smiles that come from Maddy’s visits with all of her grandparents and was sorry for that for her. The other mom’s concern was specifically food allergy related – her daughter isn’t allowed to stay at any friend’s or even any grandparent’s due to the tree nut/peanut allergy, again, reminding me of my luck and gratitude. Not only have I found our village to be exceptionally supportive in raising Maddy, they have been there for us through so much, helping us step by step, rung by rung. I couldn't do any of this, without them.


  1. What a sweet post! Your Maddy is one lucky girl. My parents, too, help us out tremendously, and it's such a HUGE blessing when your family/caregivers understand the severity of a peanut allergy. I know a lot of people don't have that. I hope that you are well, now. I can't even begin to imagine the stress that cancer added to your lives. You have a wonderful family! Wishing Maddy lots of luck on her future treatments!

  2. It does truly take a village to raise a child.You are blessed (as you already know) to have such a village. If more children had that type of village, there would be so much less pain and behavior issues in our teens and young adults. Having loving and involved parents is amazing, having a village to rely on when parents cannot be there gives a security that many children do not have. I am so happy you have such a loving village.