You know the saying "It takes a village to raise a child?" Well, I firmly believe it to be true. But in this case, I believe it takes a village to support a parent to be the type of person who can raise a child. I'm very lucky. Over the course of my life, I've had a changing cast and crew in my village. A lot of people have been visitors, temporary members and even citizens of my village (which could be called "Kate-ville"). I would not be the person I am today, nor even close to the type of person I would want to be without these people in my village.
My village are the people who provide shoulders for me to cry on, who provide ears to listen, brains to think and hearts to love. They are the arms to hug and comfort, even if it is through inappropriate remarks and irreverent humor.
I've often said that it is not important to have tons of friends, but simply one or two good, true friends. I am so lucky to have had that throughout the course of my life. From my first friend in life, Julie, who is about to embark on her own terrific journey into wedded bliss, to my current group of peeps who keep me sane (which is more difficult on some days than others), I have learned an immense amount. And even though the cast of characters has changed over the years, I am blessed that through modern technology (otherwise known as social media), I am now in contact with most of the people who have been residents of Kate-ville.
When I actually think about naming all the people, it gets overwhelming. But it also shows me how blessed I am to have this many beautiful, strong, smart and caring women play a role in my life and the person I am (and am still trying to become). Putting it down on paper (or screen), really emphasizes how lucky I have been. There's the elementary group...in addition to Julie, there is Kelly, Lauren, and then the three members of the quartet, Sherri, Kirsten, and Mari-ann. As I moved onto high school, I had trouble finding a niche. I never quite fit in anywhere, travelling in between groups as well as grades. My village was more of a nomadic tribe. But the tribe included Joy, Colleen, Anne, Shannon, Lori, Sue, Amy and Brenda. When I moved onto college, I fell right in with my girls who made the experience so wonderful. I would not have survived those years without Christine, Becky, Devany and Gabriela. Sometimes, my heart hurts when I think about how much I miss them.
I obviously had a bounty of friends when I was younger, but as I've aged, the groups are smaller. In Ohio, Amy, Pam and Kristen, my office-mates, and I made up the most unusual foursome, but it worked for us. Since moving back to NY, I struggled and floundered for a few years. When Jake entered pre-school, I found a wonderful group, Jill, Kelly and Kelleen, who helped support not only me, but my son, as we struggled with his difficulties. These ladies welcomed me and my son, helping him to feel part of a group when his natural inclination was to isolate himself. We saw each other have babies, and though health crises. No matter where life takes us, I will always feel close with these women. With Sophia, I again found a group of pre-school moms, Michelle, Sarah and Krista, to kabbitz with, and to guide each other as we worked on this thing called parenting.
Then there are the village members who found their way in through marriage. You don't really get a choice with in-laws, but I lucked out with Flame and Cahren (with whom I share a brain...so if this is ever too rambly or dis-jointed, blame Cahren for hogging the brain that day).
I have the village dancers, who keep me moving. Margie, I've known for 32 years, is the ring leader. But I get my weekly therapy through movement with Dara, Kristen, Kaitlyn, Megan, Katie, Jaimie and Nicole. No matter how crappy I feel at 6:45 pm on Tuesday, I'm guaranteed to be laughing, smiling, and feel better about the world by 9 pm.
My latest village members are a mom from school, and a co-worker at school. Both are named Susan. One taught me the ever-important skill of anaylizing, "is it a crisis or an inconvienence?". The other shares my warped sense of humor, as well as OCD tendencies, and makes going to work a pleasure, especially on days when I just want to cry.
The mayor of my village is Michele. She's the person I can tell anything to, and doesn't really judge me (ok, maybe just a little). I can tell my fears and dreams to her, and she doesn't laugh (ok, maybe a lot, but she's laughing with me, right?). And that's what we do, is laugh. Because sometimes, it is all you can do. We're already planning what we will and wont' be like when we're old (er) and are shopping for neighboring nursing home rooms.
My village has a lot a citizens, doesn't it? Each one represents a blessing to me. Each one has given me knowledge and support, unconditional love and guidance. I know that I'm a work in progress, but I've come as far as I have because of my village. So, even if we're not really close anymore, know that you've all had an impact on me. Thank you for listening, and for being my friend. Thank you for helping me and guiding me to become a better parent, and a better person.
Also, you can thank me for not posting pictures.