This morning I drove Edie to town to daycare so I could get some work done. My husband was gone hunting in Montana over the past few weekends and into this week, so I’ve been on my own a bit more, managing a schedule of deadlines, performances, doctors appointments and fun. I’ve been calling on my mom and dad, sister, mother-in-law and daycare provider to fill in the blanks of caretaking along the way so that my husband can have time to do the things that make him feel like himself, obliging, of course, because he does the same for me.
When I was a kid my grandma would take my little sister and I into town to run errands. After a stop at the pharmacy and post office, we would inevitably wind up at the Chuck Wagon Café on the corner for a hamburger or ice cream.
If Dixie, my favorite waitress was working, she would serve us chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup and chocolate M&Ms, a sweet indulgence and a simple gesture that seemed to stick with me throughout my life the same way I've kept the memory of a teenage neighbor giving me words of wisdom about an unruly horse at a 4-H show when I was 11.
And there are dozens others - my third grade teacher who would let me write plays for our class to perform for the school during lesson time, our hired man who caught a grass snake for my sister and me to keep as a pet one summer and who saved our puppy when he got his head stuck in the Christmas tree stand, the older neighbor boy who taught us girls how to play football by running plays on his knees and letting us tackle him, and my aunt and uncle who would have me at their ranch for a few weeks in the summer to eat popsicles and help my cousins groom and show their sheep and steers at the fair.
These are the moments embedded in that old saying "It takes a village to raise a child." I've been thinking about it lately as I've been relying on my extended family and friends more than ever to help me balance mom life and work life.
And a parent could start to feel guilty about leaning on others, except the older Edie gets, and as my big belly grows along with our plans, I've slowly come to realize that not only can we not do this parenting thing alone; I don't know if we were meant to.
Because that little village I looked up to are characters woven into the story of my life who not only taught me lessons, but sweetened my life experience beyond the borders of our barnyard.
And you know, now that I think of it, the influence of that village didn't stop when I found myself all grown up - it's just that I think I took them for granted until now when I feel I need them the most. Because it turns out it takes a village to raise a mom too, and I am thankful for mine.