I am an extrovert. I am sure this is super hard to believe if you have ever met me or read any of my FB posts. I love to have my house filled with people, kids running everywhere and thrive in a bit of chaos. AND, on the flip side, I like to do many things alone. I like to make decisions alone, take only my own advice and believe I know what’s best in every situation. I like to disregard other people’s emotions and once I have made a decision, there is no changing it. It’s worked out really well for me as you can imagine. (I also speak fluent sarcasm so if you don’t, it’s probably best to stop reading.)
As I have gotten older, or maybe it’s my kids getting older, I realize that I am not actually the expert on every situation. It took a few beers and lots of tears to even admit to that. “Other people might know a better way of doing things?” Man, what a hard sentence to get out. But at this point in my life, I am so thankful I can see that. I am more grateful for community than I have ever been before.
When you are younger and life is far less difficult, community is fun. It is people who you like to grab a bite with, or watch a movie with. But now, into my mid 30’s community is necessary. Something about this stage of life is difficult. Most of my friends have been married for over a decade, some going on 2. The excitement of dating, engagements and dream weddings are long gone. The anticipation of babies and growing families is behind us, as we all mostly have several children now. And this is where life starts to really be lived. The day to day grind of sustaining marriages, raising children, and growing up yourself.
As someone who could do so many things alone, and sometimes prefers to, I was shocked at how much I really do need others. This village of people that I am surrounded with have saved me. They have shaped me. They have helped me to become a better wife, mom and friend. They have believed in me, when I don’t believe in myself. They have loved my kids when I think they are wild and out of control and don’t know how they will grow up to be kind people. They support my marriage and always see the good in it, even when I struggle.
It really does take a village to raise a child, and in so many ways, to raise an adult. I am so glad that when I can’t see good in a day I can call Michelle and she is guaranteed to see the bright side of something. Or when Beck is crying at drop off I can call Mallory and she can give me comfort in knowing that she has been there, and it really will be ok. For Zelia who forces me to remember that I am not JUST a mom, and gets me out of the house for late night dinner dates or past my bedtime Karaoke. I am so glad I have my friend Lindsay who has taught me much about motherhood, especially with girls. I have learned boatloads about gratitude and seeing children raised well from my friend Melinda, and about moving the fine line of friendship to family from Amy. Some friends have walked with me through years of life, and others I have been fortunate enough to meet more recently. Some I get to talk to all the time, and some less often. And there are so many more in my circle of beautiful friends who influence me and push me to be better that I would have to write a whole book to include them all.
So for this moment, I am sitting in a place of gratitude for them all. And I invite you to take a minute and do that too. Think about your village and all you have to be thankful for. Tell them. Give them a hug if you are into that weird kind of thing. Send them an actual letter in the mail that requires handwriting and a stamp. And remember that even those of us who think we can, really can’t live this life alone. Plus having a drink solo just makes you look sad. Nobody wants to be that guy.