Main Street of my little town on the prairie: Camp Crook, South Dakota in 2007

My husband and I weren’t looking forward to our first Thanksgiving as parents of a baby with special needs. The little town on the prairie where we lived was 750 miles from the University of Nebraska hospital in Omaha where our son had already had 2 surgeries, the first when he was less than 24 hours old. The surgeon insisted on scheduling a follow-up appointment before releasing our son after the second surgery. My husband and I couldn’t afford to miss any more work, so the appointment was set for the day after Thanksgiving. We couldn’t afford to travel by plane because of mounting medical bills.

That meant a 15 hour car trip.
On Thanksgiving.
With a 5-month-old who ate through a feeding tube.
Who was allergic to every form of nourishment except breast milk.
Which I had to pump.
During a 15 hour car trip.
On Thanksgiving.
With a 5-month-old who ate through a feeding tube.

Our first Thanksgiving with our baby boy was shaping up to be the worst holiday ever.

Until some friends said they were planning a benefit for us. These friends were also parents of the students in my classroom, the other teachers in the small school. my husband’s co-workers, and our son’s babysitter. In small towns, everybody wears lots of hats. Mostly cowboy hats in this particular town only 2 miles from the Montana and 20 miles from North Dakota. Mostly dusty hats in the drought-stricken years of the early 1980s when every road coming into the town was gravel. Even the state highway.

We soon learned our friends and co-workers wore fund-raising hats with style.

The remainder of this post can be found at the Not Alone Special Needs Parenting website.

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