I have always heard the phrase – “it takes a village” – but I never truly knew what it meant. When Olivia entered this world and we were faced with our first real challenge as parents with her PFV diagnosis, we were terrified. But I’ll tell you what softened the blow. Our village. We are beyond lucky that not only do we have a village of people behind us but rather an army. I went to that first optomology appointment with my mom by my side. She sat there strong as stone as the doctor informed me that my 2 month old daughter had a cataract in her right eye. She hugged me and squeezed me tight as I melted into a pile of mush as soon as the doctor walked out the door. And she stayed with me, playing with her granddaughter, until my husband could slip away from work and get to the office to take care of us. Countless times, my mom (Pacha) has taken the 3-hour drive to Long Island, NY with a baby that despises the car just as much as she hates napping alone. Without complaint, Pacha and Poppou purchase patches and allergy friendly snacks for our family and Grammy and Grandpa cook up allergy friendly dinners. On those nights when my husband and I need a small reprieve from the worry of food allergies and contact lenses, my sister is over in the blink of an eye to dance to Moana, eat avocados by the spoonful and make Olivia belly laugh over absolutely everything. When Olivia is having a hard time keeping that patch on, we call Olivia’s grandparents to make her smile as she talks to all their puppies and kitties and watches Poppou crash into the phone or grandpa say ‘hello’ in the way only grandpas can ☺. My brother in law makes fires outside to keep Olivia focused on the bright lights and comforted by the warmth as she plays peak-a-boo with all of us. Gigi is always ready to play BeeBo with as much energy as possible and lets Olivia talk to all the kitties on FaceTime. On those especially difficult patch days, Olivia’s Grammy comes over to play with magnets and read books to keep a smile on Olivia’s face and that patch on her nemo. My mother in law is always there on the other end of the phone to talk us through how we are feeling and to remind us that we are doing the right thing for our little girl. When we found out about all of Olivia’s allergies, my mom and mother in law were there to keep us strong and brave. Our friends and their children keep us fun and light. They remind us that everything will be okay and to stay positive.
I know that we are extremely lucky to have such a force field around us. Our family and friends are the source of light on these challenging days. We know we can count on them to stand by our side in the face of adversity. In storm seas, they are our lifeboats. Words cannot express how lucky we are to have people in our lives that love our little girl like they do. I want to encourage anyone reading this post to ask for help. Lean on the people in your life for help on those darker days. Together, we can do this. Together, we can just keep patching.