I’m not going to pretend I was more than a little bit nervous after my last post on Friday. I felt like I had done the emotional equivalent of standing in my local supermarket naked. I really wasn’t sure what people would think. Would I be judged? Would I be pitied? Neither seemed like a good option. After I cleared my head a bit, I realized that I was really and truly honest; and that was the whole point of the blog in the first place. But then, I started getting phone calls, and texts, and emails, and private messages and posts onto my wall on Facebook. These responses ranged from words of encouragement from close friends, a concerned and supportive voicemail from Scott’s mom, a wall post from a girl I hadn’t seen in over a year telling me how much she could relate to the “Mommy guilt”, and a heartfelt email from a great mom I’m beginning to get to know that is going through some marital troubles. There were about a dozen others. None of these people have anything in common with my current situation, but all saw a bit of themselves in what I had written.
I was astounded, I was choked up, I was…proud.
I think that my point about all of us having some level of stress, or tragedy, or concern in our lives – and that it’s okay wallow in it occasionally without comparing ourselves to others – may have hit home for some people who read the post. The only part of it that bothered me, that I couldn’t put my finger on until now, was that everyone kept attributing my pushing through all that our family is going through to me and me alone.
I am not doing this alone. Aside from my best friend, partner in crime, and the love of my life (yes honey, I’m talking about you), the outpouring of support that I got on Friday night and all through the weekend, is only a snapshot of what I am surrounded by every single day. I am part of a greater community – a community of women who happen to have other tiny people attached to them. A few (very, very few in the big picture) of the moms who keep me afloat when I feel like I’m sinking:
My mom – we have traveled a rough road together, but without her emotional support and willingness to drop-everything-right-now-I’m-on-my-way-there, along with the fact that she and my father are phenomenal grandparents, I likely would have gone to the looney bin a long time ago.
Scott’s mom – a voice of reason and honesty; she would move move Heaven and Earth for her children and grandchildren. It’s never a bad thing to have a former-preschool, and current Kindergarten teacher on board for fun crafts with PJ, either!
Stacy – has proven to me that family often make the best friends. I can be silly, I can complain, I can be scared, I can be honest…and there’s not a damn thing she can do about it because I married her brother. Seriously – I have a sister now and PJ has a chance to make it through dance classes with some intensive tutoring.
Rachel – known me since I was three and karate-chopped her mom in the shin. Loves me anyway (as does her mom). I could write a whole other blog about stories involving the two of us, but instead I will only mention three things that will sum it all up: 1. She was the first person that made me laugh after Owen was born, 2. She is the guardian of my two children and didn’t “take the out” when I offered it after Owen was diagnosed, and 3. Whenever we have a “family only” party, she is expected to – and always does – attend.
Dee – a new member of our family, that treats our children as her own. She gets just as excited when Bo hits a milestone as we do, and tells me each new word PJ says while bursting with pride. She asks me about his therapy so she can implement it throughout the day; and cries with me when we get bad news, or have had a rough day, week, or month.
Amelia – new friend, neighbor, bringer-of-wine-to-Friday-playdates. That last one would be enough to put her on the list at this point, but she is also an amazing listener, a fantastic mom to PJ’s best friend and playmate, and due to some recent tragic circumstances, has shown me that she has the strength of an Ironman in more ways than one. I know in my heart that this is a friendship that will continue when we live more than fifteen feet apart.
Pam, Rachel, Alison, and Sunday – All friends who I know I can call for support, laughter and gossip, a shoulder to cry on, or a positive perspective (yes, in that order!).
I sincerely hope no one left off of this list feels alienated, but hopefully you understand that this was just to make a point – none of us do this alone. This is about the people we see, talk to, and email everyday — and sometimes, the ones we rarely see or get to speak with but who make their presence and support known to us in other ways. We aren’t at our weakest when we ask for or accept help, support, or love; we are at our strongest, because we have the strength to ask.
In the immortal words of Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia……. “Thank you for being a friend”.