I recently re-entered the work force and bought a foreclosed fixer-upper – all while hopped up on hormones to carry a baby for another family as a gestational surrogate. I couldn’t have done it without my village. My squad. My wolf pack.
Here’s to those people in all of our lives. They get overlooked and need a “thank you” too! These family, friends, teachers, and even strangers make our parenting survival possible.
To our husbands, the ones who are stuck with us for better or worse. They often get what we have left over, but they deserve so much more. Their perspective on parenting is sometimes hilarious, sometimes baffling, but usually exactly what our children need a little more of. I remember watching my husband encourage my son as he climbed his first step-wall. Eli climbed confidently, unaware of the open hands following just inches below, ready to catch him at any second. What a great reminder of the role of a parent.
Dads: there is a lot we moms can learn from you.
To the grandmas and grandpas (and great grandmas and grandpas) who love our kids like no one else can. They spoil them like no one else, they snuggle them like no one else, and they do it all with a patience and joy that only comes with truly understanding how fast this time really does fly by.
To our siblings, the aunts and uncles to our children. You’re their heroes. You’re also our heroes. Whether we need to vent, commiserate, or just double check to make sure we aren’t completely crazy – you’re the ones we turn to.
To the extended family – each member playing their own part. They bring things to our kids lives that might otherwise be missing. Especially that one uncle. You know the one – when you look up he has your baby on a 4 wheeler. Yeah, that uncle.
These are the people that enrich your child’s life by gently nudging you past your comfort zone.
To the mommy friends, the ones that “get it”. You haven’t talked in weeks, but you always pick up just where you left off. They know that the dress code is always yoga-pants-chic when you get together. As an added bonus, your little ones have built in best friends (whether they like it or not!)
To the teachers and caregivers. They take on more than most of us could handle for an hour, and they manage it all day. Even through the organized chaos, they take the time to share a story or picture from our child’s day and our mommy hearts light up.
To our co-workers and bosses. Sometimes we’re thankful because they let us have conversations about something other than our children. Sometimes we’re thankful because they remembered to ask if our little one fought off that bug. You give us a space to feel a different kind of fulfillment while also knowing that they are always on our minds. Always.
To the community program leaders. Between night events for the entire family and the smaller age-specific programs offered by our local library, it is one of our favorite places to be.
You can also find us at themed playgroups and “Cookie Bookies” through Parents as Teachers multiple times a week.
To our church family that values programs and events for children and families of all ages. Being blessed enough to be surrounded with a community that values children is priceless.
To waiters, waitresses, checkers, baggers, and workers who see us at our worst and smile anyway. We want our children screaming and throwing a fit just as much as you do. We appreciate your empathy and patience, even if we might be too tired or frustrated to show it.
To the “helpers.” The sirens I barely used to notice are now the beginning of conversations about where you might be going and how you might be helping others.
You’ve brought us many teachable moments about helping people in need and how even adults have consequences for not following the rules. I’ve been blown away by how friendly and welcoming our neighborhood helpers are with children. From tours of the police station to firemen that stopped their truck at the playground to give a waving little boy an impromptu tour of the engine – these men and women are my child’s heroes.
To the overly friendly stranger. Yes, even you. You get a lot of hate on the internet, but I know you mean well. I don’t care that your compliment about my infants “big-ol pumpkin head” was actually kind of insulting. I’m not going to go crazy on you for touching him (or my pregnant belly) even though we’ve never met. I almost envy your ability to feel so intimately connected to another person so instantaneously.
Sometimes it takes those crazy times in life where we feel like we don’t have anything together to realize all the people that are behind the scenes holding all the pieces together for us. Take a moment to thank those people in your life. Yes, maybe even the creepy stranger.