Here’s to the Generous

“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. ” ~Khalil Gibran

Some recent news out of Minnesota shocked me–no, it wasn’t the consistently terrible below zero weather or disastrous snowfalls (I’m actually very jealous of the snow!).  It was the news that school districts had been throwing out low income students’ hot lunches if they couldn’t pay the 40 cent reduced price lunch.  If the lunches were replaced, it was with a cheese sandwich (I’m sure the “cheese” was a far cry from the real thing), and a carton of milk.  I guess something is better than nothing…but students need much more nutrition than a highly processed sandwich and ultra pasteurized milk.  These are probably the same students who come to school without good breakfasts.  How are they expected to perform well in school if they don’t have proper nutrition?  How could this happen in my home state?

But there was other news that piggy backed with this that made me SO thankful for genuine generosity.  A tutor in Texas figured that his students were probably experiencing this same thing, and he took the solution into his own hands.  He donated about $500 to cover the outstanding balances on 60 students’ lunch accounts so they could once again receive hot lunches in their school.

So…Here’s to the Generous!

Baby Ava proclaims: "Here's to the Generous!"

Baby Ava proclaims: “Here’s to the Generous!”

While we are not a low income family that needs sustenance, we have felt such wonderful, loving and genuine generosity since the birth of little Ava.  Really, the generosity started even before her arrival!

The postpartum rituals for both mothers and babies throughout the world vary greatly, but many of them trend toward pampering the mom and babe for a few weeks while they rest, heal and get used to their new life together.  In some Asian countries, mothers and babies are bathed and massaged daily and the mother isn’t allowed to get out of bed for up to a month!  Historically, western cultures have also taken care of new moms and babies.  When families lived in more proximity to one another, this was generally taken on by the mother of the new mother and sisters or aunts.  While the new mom rested, healed and bonded with her new child, these women would cook nutritious meals, help keep the house tidy, take care of older children and make sure the new mom was feeling supported in her new adventure.

Baby is sleeping tight knowing that she has so much love from near and far!

Baby is sleeping tight knowing that she has so much love from near and far!

All of this makes me miss my mother!  I know she would have done all of this for me, and more, if we had been in closer proximity (not 3,000 miles apart…).  Luckily, we have a good network of friends here who have made the last month totally doable.  And we have felt the generosity from afar via thoughtful gifts, phone calls and Face Time chats.  The most amazing part, to me, is that many of these generous souls have spent time and money beyond what they have available just to help out our growing family!

Some of the highlights of generosity we’ve experienced:

-Amanda, whose property we live on, brought us food almost every day the week after Ava was born.  She also walked our dog, did our dishes and brought me yummy tea.  This all from a woman who works upwards of 60 hours per week, often 7 days per week and she has to commute about an hour each way into Anchorage for her jobs.  Her kindness and generosity overfloweth! Plus, her husband graveled and sanded our whole walkway (it’s long) after it rained and froze into an ice luge death trap.

-Bix and Emma, who brought us two dinners and did three loads of gross poop and spit up covered laundry (the poop and spit up were Ava’s, to be clear).  They also would have helped Evan move a cord of wood and chop it if it hadn’t been done already! These two adventurers are grad students with multiple jobs, so they don’t have much time or money to spare.  Plus, they have to drive out here from Anchorage to visit.

-My old college friend, Jenna, who sent us an awesome care package.  First off, she sent a bunch of warm booties, hats and socks from her daughter.  The best part though, was all of the home made remedies for baby problems–home made baby powder, ointment for diaper rash and other ailments, and ear drops for ear aches.  Plus, she spent a lot of time on the phone with me giving invaluable advice and a willing ear to listen to my worries and realizations both before and after birth.  She is a full time working momma of 2 kids ages 2 and 4 months, but she found the time to create these amazing products and talk to her worry-wart old friend.

-Evan’s mom, Gail, who spent 10 days up here in Alaska with us to help with the whole new baby thing.  She cuddled with her grand daughter, showered her with fun and pretty things and treated mom and dad to some delicious meals!  This is all from a woman who has spent her life working long hours for others as a nurse and mom.

music time!

Music time with daddy and Grandma

Finally, we received so many fun clothing items, books, toys and all around awesome baby stuff from friends and family all over.  I don’t think we’ll have to get any clothes for this little munchkin for a year and a half!  We also haven’t had to buy our own wipes (although one of the things Jenna sent is a home-made wipe recipe/instruction, so we’ll probably do that), and we only had to purchase two packs of disposable diapers before switching to cloth this week.

Our genius baby is already learning to read thanks to perfect gifts from friends and family.

Our genius baby is already learning to read thanks to perfect gifts from friends and family.

One other surprising thing, to me, is the support we’ve gotten from friends and family who do not have kids yet.  I am amazed at the insight that so many of them have.  Before having a baby myself, I never thought about helping out a new mom by doing dishes and laundry and preparing meals for her.  I never realized just how taxing childbirth really is or how demanding a newborn is in terms of non-stop breastfeeding!  Maybe other women are different, but there is no way I could have done laundry or the dishes, much less make myself any semblance of a real meal.

So, who says that we don’t know how to take care of growing families in this country? I don’t know, but I disagree with them.  We feel SO supported and loved in this new chapter in our lives.  Even living out in the boonies, generosity made its way here.  Hopefully we’ll be able to repay these amazing favors in the near future!

ava get socialized

Ava gets socialized at our Anchorage friends’ place. It’s great to have friends with open doors so we have a nice place to feed Ava on long trips to the city.

Once again: Here’s to the Generous!!!

What are your favorite memories of generosity?  I’d love to hear them!

Sending you peace and love,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

 

Leave a comment 10 Comments

  1. Donna Bailey says:

    What a beautiful baby girl you have. Just wanted to let you know that I think that’s a beautiful story too. Who would have thought so many people would be there for you. But…..that’s what friends do. Have a really out standing year……….daylilli

  2. Rowena says:

    “So, who says that we don’t know how to take care of growing families in this country? I don’t know, but I disagree with them.”
    Lots of people say it because it is true. You are lucky you had the help of generous friends & family. What people mean when they talk about the country as a whole not helping growing families is that we are the only civilized country in the world that does not have paid family leave. We are the only one without universal health care. We are one of the few w/o any sort of visiting nurse system for new moms or breastfeeding support. The story you cited at the beginning of your post about school lunches being taken away is a perfect example.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Yes, I know these things and recognize that there are many shortfalls in the way our government and social welfare systems treat families in the United States. And yes, we have experienced these shortfalls firshand–as seen in our problems with my partner getting leave from his job to be home with us. I should have worded that phrase differently; but I think it is also important to recognize the importance that individuals play in our lives instead of consistently complaining about the system. I get on my high horse about these topics outside of my blog on MJF. However I do, full heartedly, agree with you that the country as a whole has failed and continues to fail supporting mothers, fathers, new babies and many others in the healthcare system.

  3. Patty says:

    When we finally bought some land, we started as soon as possible building raised beds, an outhouse, a canning kitchen and a storage shed with a loft for overnights. The first season we had all our neighbors come over and offer everything from large machinery (a backhoe to dig out an ancient burn pile with God-know-what in it) to goat poop for our garden beds (which the cabbages loved). I’ve moved many times and never have I had such an outpouring of generosity as in our new little hamlet.

  4. Marion says:

    I love your blog and now with beautiful baby Ava, it can only get better. As individuals I think we need to speak out on behalf of those who need help in whatever form they may need it. There is so much that needs to be done,but I also believe we need to be positve and step in and help where we can.

  5. Gaill Pederson says:

    Hi Alex and Family. What a nice post. I came home from Alaska telling Grandpa Dennis of the wonderful friends and support you have there.

    Below is a link to what Governor Dayton said about school lunches in MN.
    http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/244935561.html

    Many hugs and kisses from way too far away. Grandma Gail

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks Grandma Gail! Sorry for the slow reply, I hadn’t checked these replies in a bit. We are so grateful for YOU! Love you, a

  6. Debbie says:

    Dear Alex and family,
    Reading your blog and ” new mom” experiences really took me back to when our ( now 18 and 16 ) kids were born and the generosity we felt from family far and wide. WE didn’t live in the boonies, we lived in suburbia but it was much appreciated and welcomed to two elated, yet tired parents. I agree with you. Us gals in the US… could sure learn a thing or two about how to treat ourselves better from other cultures. We rush through everything we do when we are young, only to realize with age and wisdom that we need slow down and enjoy the moment…Giving birth and easing into motherhood is a blessed time. One to cherish and soak in right along with those dirty diapers and spit up cloths! I think our oldest was two when I finally stopped using the term” NEW MOM” . I loved my new title and so enjoyed saying it with a big smile on my face… I know you will too! Many blessings to all of you… Enjoy your precious Ava. She is beautiful and a very lucky little girl.
    Love, from the Beach Farmgirl, Deb

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks Deb! Being a mom is GREAT! While I was pregnant I still had some nagging feelings of regret and grief about leaving my “old” life behind. However, I’ve found that being Ava’s mom is so much better than any adventures I might have to pass on in the coming years. Thank you for all of your heartfelt and welcoming comments, we really appreciate them!

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