Who’s Helping Who?

A few weeks back, I wrote about my friend whose toddler suffered third-degree burns to his hands and arms when he fell into a fire pit while on their family vacation (see previous post: Prayers For A Child). Since then, he’s had many surgeries, including skin grafts. They have been transferred back to home and our city’s burn hospital, where he is having weekly surgeries as an outpatient. He’s had the tips of several fingers amputated, and the hope is that the rest of the grafts will take. He’s lost weight and they’re doing everything they can to get calories into him. But through this whole thing, he and his folks have been models of strength over adversity.

During that time my friend was living in a burn unit in another state, many of us here at home wondered what we could do. I know some of us sent food packages and cards, but it felt lame. Then when they were transferred back, we felt like we wanted to DO something. But it’s so hard to know what to do, so we reached out and texted and emailed and offered…and felt lame.

So it was with HUGE relief and delight that I finally received the call for practical assistance: with all of this, they are also in the midst of selling their place and moving to a new home several hours away, and so, my friend asked for help packing. She can’t get much done with her toddler requiring bandage care and pain meds and feeding and everything…

Packing! Yes! I can DO that. I can pack a house with one hand tied behind my back. Ha. Since I graduated from college, I’ve had 10 major moves, 6 of them between different states. I know from packing.

So I stopped at Home Depot, picked up a bunch of boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and packing tape, and set off to be Helpful. And it felt sooo good to be able to DO something.

It was also so wonderfully heartwarming to witness this adorable toddler’s resilience firsthand: even with huge, club-like bandages on both arms, with a plastic-wrap-like outer covering to hold the moisture of the wet dressings in, he picks things up, he pushes his racecars, arranges his Little People. Heck, he draws! He clamped those determined arms around a chunky blue crayon, squatted down over a piece of paper on the floor and DREW, dammit. And if he couldn’t pick something up with his arms, like his favorite lovey which is sort of like a blankie, he leaned down to grasp it and carry it with his mouth. He’s learned how to eat that way, with his food elevated on an upside-down Tupperware on his high chair tray. I’m telling you, this kid cannot be stopped!

Very impressive. And cute.

I’m not sure many of us adults could handle the situation as well as he is. It’s a lesson, and he’s an inspiration.

I made myself helpful for a few hours, but really, it was me that was helped.

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