Every now and then we get new epiphanies as parents that I want to sear into my heart and mind.
I now understand the magnitude of the statement, "It takes a village to raise a child."
Tonight I held my friend's sweet baby boy. The last time I held him was almost a month ago when I was able to run down to the delivery room and meet this babe on his birthday. I loved being able to meet him in that moment and cannot say more things about how awesome my job is. In my sleepy haze I went home and woke up to a text that he was being transferred to the children's hospital. My heart sank and I cried tears on my friend's behalf. That was a hard night not having any type of guarantee that Joshua would make it. Sitting in Aimee's hospital room saying prayers with many an F-bomb as well as begging for God's grace and mercy and for Joshua's life to be spared and blessed. In my head, those are the prayers that are broadcasted through heaven, because those are the most sacred of prayers. The depth of joy and sorrow that can be felt within the four walls of a hospital room covers the entire spectrum or emotion. I did not fully understand that until I was not the one working in the hospital, but rather the one whose mother laid in the ICU bed.
A couple weeks ago I saw that little guy intubated and sedated with his open chest in his hospital bed. My friends have walked a difficult path this month, and while I in no way can ever fully understand their experience, I now get what it is like to love a little person with your whole heart. I understand how a parent's heart can break when you child is in pain. I no longer have the ability to separate my emotions and sorrow when I see a really sick baby in the NICU. I used to be able to compartmentalize really well...now I want to sit with the parents and cry. But there is strength in my tears. There is strength in the partnership and compassion.
Aimee had watched Grayson for me almost weekly until she delivered. When I had mentioned that I had to go back to work and didn't know how I was going to sleep, she told me to bring him over to her house without batting an eye. It was no big deal that she was 9 months pregnant with two other children. You just throw one more car seat in the van and let the girls entertain the idea of a baby in the house a bit sooner. Whatever. So with complete confidence I could drop my baby off and go crash in a guest bedroom, or better yet, go home and get a good couple hours of sleep. Grayson would tag along and go to preschool drop off, or babble at the girls as he bounced in the exersaucer. Jon and I have been incredibly blessed by the people who have been willing to watch Grayson, and I absolutely love the fact that it isn't a day all about him, but rather incorporating him into the lives of many families. (Fear not, Grayson also has some great time with family members who have watched him, and he eats up every second of the one-on-one love and attention).
Before everything happened with my mom, I did not realize the power of community...and honestly, I don't think I experienced community at it's finest until I became a parent.
Mamas need mamas.
End of story. Not only do I need the support and encouragement of other mamas, but I want Grayson to see that our family system is not the only one out there. Things are done differently all over, and it's OK. Because there is this binding string of love that ties us all together. While I might not fully understand Aimee's experience or family, I get what is at the core.
So once again I am reminding myself to give in to the value of community. I am pretty sure I am going to have T-shirts made to hand them out to all of my villagers. I am so blessed by my village, and also realize that we all have the power to create it. Those mom and tot swim classes are not for the tots...lets be honest. Mama needs a social life and mama needs to build a village. Not only that, but mama needs someone vent to about the extent of exhaustion that you are able to function at with young children, and she is hoping that people understand the mom code and won't flaunt the fact that their 2 month old is sleeping through the night while my 7 month old is not. Support people, we need support. I need to know that you too tried every pacifier in the store in a moment of desperation. Or that you maybe also took your kid in the bathtub with you for 45 minutes when he was 3 weeks old because that was the only restful 45 minutes you had gotten in the last three weeks. And please don't condemn me when I tell you I tried to let my kid sleep on his stomach, or his side, or in the swing, or in our bed, or in the freaking garage if he would have slept there... because sleep deprivation melts your brain. Oh, you thought you wanted to give your baby away too at 6 in the morning when you slept maybe 10 minutes? Glad I'm not alone.
Thank you to all my villagers. Thank you for loving my son and bringing him into your life. Thank you for understanding my core. Who wants a T-shirt?