it takes a village

I know that there are many dark and depressing moments to come in the next two or three…or four… weeks. So, while I’m having an upbeat day, I’d like to list some things and people I’m really extremely grateful for. Sort of a happy list to refer back to later on when my brain stops functioning and I’m having out of body experiences.

I know I’ve said before that I’ve never felt more lonely in my life than I have since we moved to Alabama. We left family and friends who were like family behind when we left Atlanta. Turns out that moving to Alabama was much like moving to a different country… folks are different out here! Our first year was one of unrest and social frustration much like puberty. I was pregnant with Ezra for most of that and we moved very shortly after he was born. The second year here was almost equally as frustrating as we tried to figure out where exactly we fit in. All this moving around means that we really have had very little local support or community.

One of the fundamental things that most women lack is support during the last weeks of their pregnancy, and for the first few weeks after they give birth. Really, how are you supposed to survive when you are tired and extremely round and you seem to just stumble from day to day, tripping over your many small children? Mammas need help and our society is so screwed up that most of us miss out on that. Older women are supposed to be around to help us. We are supposed to be living in community with like minded people who can send older daughters to help. Nowadays, our mothers live miles and miles away from us. Hardly a phone call away, and it’s tough to plan ahead for a bad day. 

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “Boy I wish we lived closer. I would love to come help you.”… Not that I’m begging for help, and mind you, this is a happy list, not a rant on the importance of helping out mammas. I’m just sayin’… Actually… I will…

This is a Public Service Announcement: If you have a young mother with many small children near you and you yourself are without little ones, please go and visit her. Even if she’s the type who has her house perfectly in order, she’s probably dying for some grown up conversation. Take some construction paper and do something constructive with her kids while she makes dinner. Or, take dinner, and stay and eat it with them! Take the kids for a walk so she can get some rest and quietude. Help her learn a new skill, teach her to organize her pantry, encourage her in her weariness of mothering 24/7.

When my girls get bigger, I fully intend to be sending them out frequently and often to serve the young mammas around us. I know that everyone has a life and is busy- the mamma of little people is no more busy than anyone else (or perhaps she is;) ). But it’s a different sort of busy, I think. You are emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally taxed every second of every day it seems. It can be a very trying and discouraging time without a good support group around you, and most of us are lacking that.

Anyway…. as I was saying. We get around and that means that we have lots of wonderful friends and family all over the place, but very few nearby.

But something has changed in the last year. So, I’d like to give some shout outs to the people around me who have really blessed me in the last few months, in the most unexpected ways:

  • I guess it all started back when a young lady at church sent us home one Sunday with an entire meal, and a breakfast casserole to boot! (and it was really yummy too!!)
  • Then we found out that a family that we church with actually only lives about 20 minutes away. That mamma kept my kids one morning while I went for an adjustment and a massage, and a trip to Big Lots where I found everything I was looking for. She fed my kids lunch and even sent me home with dinner! I thought it was my birthday for sure.
  • Where do I even begin with all the ways that Brent’s aunt has helped us out. She usually gets very little notice before getting a phone call from me that begins with, “ummm… I need a favor…” I can’t believe she even answers the phone when she sees our number on the caller ID. LOL
  • My friend Natalie, who knows more than anyone how it feels to sit overwhelmed on your couch, with little people to care for, swollen feet, and a tired body and survey the mess that is your home… she called a friend of hers who doesn’t even know me, and that woman and her three daughters showed up on Monday. They cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and played with the kids, while I napped on the couch. I had been up all night the night before with restless legs and sore hips, the house was totally trashed, and my kids were definitely in need of attention from people who can bend over and hop and… walk. =D  Not to mention, N even brought me dinner last night!!! Sigh.
  • Am I leaving anyone out? There have been so many who have reached out and helped this mamma out. It’s more encouraging than any of you could ever ever know!