One of the great joys of moving back to Portland has been reconnecting with old friends. Many of these people are folks I've thought about often over the years but have not been in regular touch with, save updates from my parents who run into their parents in the neighborhood. A number of these friends have kids close in age to Maddie and Riley, and all of them have turned into interesting, insightful people, so it's been fun to reconnect.
One of these friends is Amy Moore Paterson. I have known Amy since we were in fourth grade. We were fairly close through grade school and high school, although we'd not been in regular touch since high school graduation. I knew that she'd graduated from college, married a great guy, settled back in Portland, enjoyed a successful career, and had a son.
I also knew she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer when her son was a toddler. If memory serves, Amy was in treatment when John was, although I think her cancer experience was unfolding as his was coming to a close. What I remember for sure is that when my mom told me about Amy's diagnosis, it hit too close to home. I was brimming with empathy, yet paralyzed about reaching out. I thought about Amy a lot, although she probably didn't know that.
But this post is not about my guilt. This post is about how amazing Amy is. She is one of those people who used her cancer experience as a catalyst for action. One of the things that struck her as she went through her treatments was how hard it was to arrange for childcare during all of her appointments. She thought it would be nice if hospitals could offer that service. And, working with a friend, she found a hospital that was willing to back her vision and create My Little Waiting Room.
I remember one time that John had one of those awful, unrelenting nosebleeds. It had been going on for hours, and as night became day, it was clear that he needed to go to the ER. The twins were probably around eight months old. Why we didn't call 911 or at least call a friend to stay with the twins, I don't know, but we didn't. Instead, we packed ourselves, the twins, their stroller, the diaper bag, and who knows what all else into the car and drove to one of the downtown Boston hospitals. There, we paid some ungodly amount of money to park and hauled our sorry selves into the ER. We were quite a sight with our double decker stroller and bloody towels and wide-eyed babies.
Once John got checked in and settled, I packed Maddie and Riley up and took them to their daycare, which was, by then, open. Then I went back downtown to be with John. How nice it would have been to leave M&R at a child care center right there in the hospital! There's something so comforting about having your whole family together in a time of crisis like that; perhaps that's why we all trooped downtown together in the first place. We managed, but onsite care for the twins would have certainly made things easier.
Last night, I had the privilege of attending the dedication of My Little Waiting Room's space. I'm so excited for Amy, and proud of her accomplishments. I know so many amazing people, with so many amazing ideas. I'm so happy to see Amy's idea become reality, and so happy for the families who will benefit. Thanks, Amy.