Last But Not Least Thank the Village

Since this is the time of year when we pause to be thankful, let’s take the whole month to thank the village. I am talking about those who have helped you build your family, make it stronger and do all you have to do for them. It’s OK to get and have help. But it’s also important to embrace those who help you out—those you call on and those who just do what they can when they can.

Parents, if we did not have those grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and good friends moving in our circles nothing would get done.

The spouse is a given, of course. We work together to help our children, but we should remind them we appreciate the job they are doing.

When my parents were alive, they did so much for my children and it helped my family in so many ways—the babysitting, the meals, the buying of school uniforms or the purchase of a Christmas gift that was too costly for our family budget.  Paige was fortunate enough to know my father for the first four years of her life. He was always happy to buy her a toy, a book or just take her outside and talk to her about as much of life she could understand. He was willing to pick her up from school and loved to come to her elementary school performances. Because of that, she carries a bit of him when she meets each new goal in her life.

I would have been even more of a mess as a working mother if I did not have my mother and mother-in-law to watch the kids for me—after school, on days when they had no school or when I just needed their help. They didn’t have to do it. They did it selflessly. I never had to ask my mother to pitch in for anything. She just did it. I was grateful that she had the means and desire.

I am so thankful that my aunt Ruthie agreed to babysit for Paige when I first came back to town and had no childcare and my mother was still working as a teacher. Even more thankful that when Paige and Aunt Ruthie’s granddaughter used chocolate pudding to paint a picture on her gray carpet she didn’t kick them out. She just called the carpet cleaners.

What we would do without a good core group of friends who help us shuttle kids to school and back, soccer games, basketball games and more. There were days I would have blown a gasket trying to figure it all out. But thankfully, my friend Toni Mitchell stepped up to the plate, always saying,” No problem. Glad to do it.”

And then there’s my wonderful brothers, who love my daughters like they were their own. Both Paige and Grace could call Uncle Robby for help with math—he is a natural. He is also the one who can make them laugh. The conversation, and the knowledge he imparts, is what they will cherish forever.

My other brother, Duncan, is a softie for both of them. If they tell him there is something they would like to have, he will find a way to get it for them. But he is also there to give advice and chat about things they may not be ready to talk to their dad about. He has been a sounding board, a man to check out a boyfriend and just someone to bounce things off of.

My best friend since fifth grade, Kathy Burke, has been a treasure: you know, the kind of friend who can listen and tell you when you are being crazy and to just relax. She’s the friend without kids who makes you feel good by saying, “I do not know how you mothers do it!”

This thankful season, remember to return the favors, because we all need a little help. When you ask for help and that person says yes it’s like a load has been taken off of your back. Treat your village well and take the time to let them know you are so grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

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