The “Thank You for Showing Up” Recognition Series is the Women & Girls Fund’s effort to share stories of local people who go beyond saying “What can I do for you?” to offer simple acts of kindness to help someone in need. “Showing up” is about seeing a need and taking action. Such supportive gestures of caring and generosity of spirit are all around us in the Mid-Shore and make our communities stronger.

Allie Hicks, left, shares the amazing story of her friend, Paige Evans, right who showed up for her.

It’s 9pm. My kids are asleep. I’m finally able to breathe and collect my thoughts from the day. My mind is swirling with the chaos of being home with two small children. My life is not unique. The strain of raising children (during a pandemic) and the challenges of motherhood are felt by most, if not all of the women I am close to. yes, we are blessed and grateful and happy, but lately, especially over the last year, sometimes it feels as though we are just keeping our heads above water.

This year was particularly challenging for me and my family.

Early in 2020, following my stomach cancer diagnosis and treatment, I was completely out of commission and unable to care for my family. I was overwhelmed by the support I received from my network of my mothers, sisters, and otherwise, that took care of me, that took care of my family in addition to their own, they were all a part of my healing and successful recuperation. I cannot thank them enough.

They showed up for me without me asking for help.

One morning, very early in my recovery, while I was laying in my hospital bed at Johns Hopkins, I received a text message from my husband saying, “The boys loved Laura’s enchiladas last night! They are going to spend the night at Paige’s house tonight. Paige will pick them up at 5.”mOut of context, I was a little confused…

Come to find out, my lifelong best friend, Paige Evans, had organized a meal train for my family without my knowledge. Paige didn’t ask me if I wanted a meal train – she knew I would insist it was too much work and that I would play it off as though I had it all covered.

In the weeks leading up to surgery, Paige asked me, “What DON’T you want from me when you’re recovering?” I was shocked at the specificity of her question, although I immediately knew how to answer it. I told her I didn’t want this posted or shared on social media. I wanted to recover privately. This was uncharted territory for our family. Paige honored my request by secretly spreading the word about the meal train among her trusted network. She knew what I needed even when I wasn’t fully cognizant of what I needed. By asking me what I did not want and finding a solution to achieve that request, Paige showed up for my family in. the best way. 

Paige doesn’t ask me what I need. She shows up. She shows up to my house with two lasagna – vegetable for me and meat for my boys. She takes my kids for sleepovers when I need a night (and day) to focus on my recovery. She picks up a few extra groceries and drops them off when I am unable to drive. If I’m at her house, I’m always sent home with a stash of freshly baked cookies… she insists… and I will never say no. These gestures of friendship have been integral in my continued recovery.

It’s 9:30pm and I get a text from Paige, “We need a spa day. I’m booking a facial for you.” Just the thought of a relaxing day releases a huge weight from my shoulders. he’s looking out for me. I know so many other women in our community feel the same way about her. Paige shows up and I hope she knows how important she is to me.