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What it's like to be raised by giants

By Margaret Anderson

For Mormon Times

Published: Thursday, June 30 2011 4:30 a.m. MDT

I have yet to buy diapers for my new baby.

Yes, she is here. Our new, sweeter-than-honey, softer-than-a-baby-bunny, can’t-get-enough-of-that-smell baby is here. People have been so unbelievably kind to me since she was born. (Not that they weren’t kind before, but you know what I mean).

I can't even begin to count how many times I have heard the doorbell ring and then heard my 4-year-old son holler down the hallway, "Mom, somebody else is here with something for the baby."

Meals, handmade booties, outfits, diapers, checks, pizzas, packages, you name it.

The kids are in heaven. I've found that when people bring a meal, they bring their best. Let's just say my kids had never had Alfredo sauce before, and they like it. They didn't know you could put cream cheese into enchiladas or top a French toast casserole with a buttery, cinnamony pecan crumble. Who knew? Certainly their mother didn't.

It's common for them to leap to the dinner table with knife and fork in hand and eagerly ask, "So, who's bringing us dinner tonight?"

Last week, my sister-in-law called me from Costco to ask if I needed anything before she stopped by to see the new baby. I said, no. We were fine.

This former Benson scholar managed to misunderstand my statement completely and gallantly showed up in my kitchen an hour later hefting diapers, wipes, fruit and other groceries onto my counter, plus a homemade meal she had made herself that morning. This was her version of "bringing over a meal." I can’t even think of an adjective that adequately describes that level of kindness.

Another one of my dear sisters-in-law stood in my hospital room last month and asked if dinner at home was taken care during my stay there. I hadn't really thought about it, and she said she would go ahead and "drop off a few things."

My husband and mother came home to a refrigerator and freezer stocked with every single one of Costco's prepared delectable meals to see them through the week. When I got home, my 4-year-old asked me in all seriousness if his aunt was my personal servant.

Then there is my sweet friend and neighbor who read a post on my blog where I shamelessly griped about not having professional cleaning help and showed up on my doorstep the next day with a Rubbermaid tub of cleaning supplies and her own five children to help us tidy up a bit.

I was half mortified and thought, "I have got to learn to shut my big blogging bazoo!!" But how do you say no to darling blond girls with bright smiles and bristly brooms? (And this friend is such a saint. She kept thanking me for giving her and her children the opportunity to serve.)

How do you say thank you for things like this? My neighbor scrubbed the petrified pancake batter off of my kitchen cabinets. Saying thank you for gestures this huge seemed so trite and insufficient. I don't know what else to say when people are out-of-the-ballpark considerate, so I just keep saying thank you over and over again, hoping that by mere repetition I can somehow give more weight to the two tiny syllables.

My point is, as I was holding my bitty 10-pound pink burrito in my arms, I thought about what life must be like for her, being so small, being lifted up and carried around by doting giants all day. And then I thought, is my life so different? Am I not also surrounded by giants? Angelic, doting giants who surround me, lift me up and carry me around all day?

Oh, may we all have such giants in our lives. I can only hope one day a little boy confuses me for his mother's personal servant, too. I think that would be the ultimate way of saying thank you.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, freelance writer, returned missionary and mother of five small children. Read more on her blog www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com.

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