Our family is like a little solar system. At our center is our sun, my sister Sue, radiating warmth and love that sustains her six siblings, who, like planets, revolve around her. Although she never had children of her own, she is a second mom (and now grand-mom) to satellite nieces, nephews, cousins’ and friends’ children.
Although four of the seven “kids” have moved away, Sue, our sister Sandy and brother Tom have all lived in the same area their entire lives, accumulating a glorious galaxy of friends. (See how you think after being married to an astronomer for four decades?)
Recently, Tom’s daughter gave birth to premature twins. Sadly, one died shortly after birth, but thanks to the wonderful medical team in Providence, his twin has grown from 1 pound 6 ounces to just under 4 pounds.
Modern medicine is truly amazing; it is also really, really expensive. Even with insurance, the high deductible, coinsurance, and uncovered expenses all equate to huge bills, as any parent with a sick child can attest. So, Sue decided to gather the troops to create a benefit dinner– “Pasta with a Purpose”.
Fortunately, Sue has a talent for choosing loyal and giving friends, that are just like her. Sheila, an elementary school buddy, has worked in the restaurant business for years, and like our brother Tom, is an amazing chef. Who expects benefit food to be good? It was at THIS benefit, thanks to a team of cooks.
But the real stroke of genius was making friends with Debbie, who like other elementary school teachers, is a force to be reckoned with. Teachers know how to create something out of nothing, how to get the unruly to behave and how to keep calm in the midst of chaos, and how to make great displays. Let’s hear it for the teachers!
Within three weeks, family and friends had secured the Knights of Columbus hall,
gotten food and raffle donations,
found a DJ,
sold hundreds of tickets, enlisted student volunteers to serve food,
and taken care of the hundreds of tiny details necessary to make the event a success.
And what a success it was! All to help this little guy and his loving parents.
With so much negativity and violence these days, it is heartening to see how people can come together to support each other in time of need.
Our family includes the normal mix of in-laws, out-laws, and sheep of all colors. If you were to chart us — along economic, political, and religious lines, you’d find someone on just about any point in the spectrum. But when it comes to things that really matter, that all gets put aside. It is family and friends, all the way.
So in addition to paying tribute to my amazing sister, Sue, this is a huge thank you to all you small town inhabitants with big hearts, who came out on November 5th to show the love for Haylie, Greg and Baby Spencer. Forgive me for not mentioning or photographing all of you who did so much to make the day so special. You know who you are, and so do we.