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It takes a village …

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See ya, hospital! Deane waves goodbye after being discharged.

The expression “It takes a village to raise a child” has always conjured up a very specific image in my mind.

The picture in my head is of a child in an African village who is looked after not only by parents, but by grandparents, older siblings, extended family members and close friends. He or she learns different things and different perspectives from those varied influences. To me, it is the child’s connection with these many people that is the centre of that expression.

What I realized over the past three months is that to raise that child, the village also provides extensive support to his family.  Since Deane’s surgery on Dec. 11, our “village” has rallied around, fed, encouraged, comforted, sympathized, distracted and helped us in every way as we supported our child.

We could not have done it without you.

We gobbled up the muffins, cookies and bagels, savoured the soups and pastas and survived on the coffees and teas. The croissants went straight to our waistlines.

The cards, messages and posts humbled us with their outpouring of concern. The visitors from near and far showered us with affection, distracted us with laughter and reminded us there was a world outside.

To those who willingly offered company, time and meals to our daughter, what can we say? To know that she was not just looked after, but having more fun than we could provide, took an enormous pressure off our minds.

And to our niece who was both at home and at the hospital, flexible with her time, generous with her affection and endlessly enthusiastic: you were the cog that made this possible. Without you, the stress would have been overwhelming. You won the hearts of  patients, nurses and parents with your dedication to Deane and your open, cheerful spirit. You were the reliable friend waiting in the schoolyard when our daughter wasn’t certain were she was going next. If we didn’t say it clearly enough, thank you and we love you.

For everyone who joined us on our journey, know that we appreciated it more than we’ll ever be able to express.

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Home at last! Deane and his sister snuggling on the couch after 80 days.

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