My Village

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We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” quote when it comes to raising children. The other night something Noah said made me think about how my village is much different than most of my friends’ villages.

Tuesday night on our way home from therapy in Michigan, Antonette and I were chatting and as we ended our call I gave her my usual, “if you want to come sit on my couch later I’ll be around.  And if it’s any temptation Glee’s on tonight and there’s plenty of dinner!”  When she walked in the back door later that evening I was sitting on the couch attempting to calm down a really grumpy baby and Steve was working on his latest Mr. Fix It project.  Noah came running in the room yelling, “DAD! Antonette’s home!”  Not Antonette’s here. Antonette’s HOME. We all started cracking up. He knows she belongs here, and while this isn’t her home that she lives in she’s a part of our home when she’s here.  I love that my kids recognize that.  My village is my friends.

Most of my friends have a lot of support from their families. When I ask them who is babysitting their kids the typical responses I get are the in laws, grandma, grandpa, an aunt or uncle.  Someone blood related.  I don’t have that. For various reasons we don’t have the physical support of our family.  I know I can pick up the phone and call and text my Mom, Gram, and Aunt whenever I want but it’s just not the same as having them sitting on my couch with me so I can quickly shovel dinner in my mouth before the baby starts crying again. And as far as in laws go, well, I’m not going to go there.

At the end of my pregnancy with Chessa I had a very emotional conversation with my Gram.  I was starting to panic a little about running a household of 5 kids. 4 is hard, how would 5 change things? The kids I can handle, the rest of the crap (laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc) that comes along with this mothering thing I kind of  really suck at.  Eventhough I’m an only child, I grew up in a large family. I watched both of my Aunts raise 4 children and it gave me such an intense desire for a large family too.  BUT,  my Aunts had an invaluable resource I’m not able to tap into.  My Gram.  Growing up I just assumed when I had kids I’d have similar family help.  I never thought I’d have to stress about who would come over if someone was sick and I needed to run an errand or who would sit with the sleeping baby while I ran to get the other kids from school or what the heck happens when I realize on a Sunday night no one has underwear for school. Well, the sick kid comes with me and the sleeping baby gets woken up and my kids have had no undie days around here.

My Gram had four kids too and then had a heavy hand in raising me so she gets it, but she was also really good at all the other “stuff” too.  Everytime we talk she gets such a depressed tone to her voice and says, “I hate that your mom and I can’t be there to help you. You need help.” I assure her that while I wish they could be with me too,  I have a support system that is amazing.  Yes, I do need help, but thank God I have my friends.

One of my favorite memories from Chessa’s birth is when when my midwife’s birth assistant, Steph, watched Antonette pick up the garbage bag full of laundry from the birth and walk out of the room with it. She looked a little confused and surprised and said, “She just took all the laundry!”  I responded with, “Yep, she does dishes too!”  Those are the kind of friends I have. The kind who will take my birth laundry to their own home to wash it.  So while my house is rarely spotless and Addison can rarely find that one pair of pants she just has to wear, with my little village I keep my head above water and enjoy this time while they are little.  So, thank you to all of you who make my life a little easier on a daily basis. Whether you’ve  held a sleeping baby, folded a pile of laundry, made me dinner, spent a holiday with us when we were bummed about not seeing family, or just sat and had a cup of coffee with me when I needed a chat (if you are ever interested in this option I’m ALWAYS up for a coffee date!) know that you are important to me.

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