Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been inundated with gifts and offerings, all with the intention of celebrating the arrival of Billie and making our lives a little easier in these early days. We are humbled by each and every thoughtful package, card and gift, to the extent that you all have made us consider the role of gratitude in our lives.
“In the olden days” (as Moo says) the rituals of a new baby were well-established. The sequence was ordained: Send birth announcements out, gifts roll in, thank you cards are dutifully sent in response. Today it’s not so simple. The baby’s arrival is announced on Facebook (or by text) and you’re never sure who actually has seen your post. Thank you’s are sent sporadically by Facebook messenger, some promptly and others not at all, depending on what moment the gifts actually arrived. We know there are many we still haven’t sent thank you’s for and may never do, though we truly wish we were more organized than that.
One of the most practical gifts for a family with a newborn is that of food. We were honoured to be the first recipients of a new initiative by the local Women’s Institute – of which Cassie is a new member – to send home-cooked meals to families who need it, whether because they’ve had a new baby, an illness, injury or other hardship. For several days in a row we had meals show up unprompted at our doorstep, from women we knew and women we didn’t know, every bite scrumptious and satisfying to our cores. All the chefs accommodated our sensitive vegetarian palates, and each contribution lasted us more than a single meal. Other friends – all of whom we have known only since we’ve moved to Paris – brought food by too, and certainly affirmed that we made the right choice in moving to this particular small town.
Here’s a sampling of what we ate in the first weeks of Billie’s life: gorgeous homemade loaves of sourdough bread, amazingly seasoned ratatouille, the best veggie soup we’ve ever had, hearty wild rice and mushrooms, moist raisin muffins and the most thoughtful lactation cookies, an expansive tray of Mexican rice and vegetables, delicious quiches (not one, but two), a full pot of lemon yogurt and huge bowl of fruit salad, mulberry bread from homegrown mulberries that traveled all the way from Florida, a glorious rhubarb pie (because we “didn’t have time for rhubarb season” – does it get more thoughtful than that?), guacamole and salsa and chips delivered to our door mere hours after Billie’s birth, a huge loaf of banana bread, several generous servings of Raw Carrot soup and breadsticks, a full tray of decadent brown-sugar topped muffins that lasted about fifteen minutes, and so much more, including several gift cards for food.
We are full, you guys, in both bellies and hearts.
We wish we could get it together to send actual thank you cards – because there is nothing like real, physical mail, and that is truly how much we appreciate all our friends and family. We even entertained the notion of designing our own cards, but we are also realistic and we know ourselves. In our world, a Facebook thank you is better than no thank you at all. We know people also don’t always expect a thank you, too, but we do want people to know that their gift has meant something to us.
With this post we hope that everyone in our lives knows how much we appreciate every message and all the support we’ve received over the last few weeks. We intend to pay it forward, earnestly and generously. And we hope this post serves as a warm blanket of thanks that we cast back out into the world. ♥