They say “It takes a village to raise a child”.
I don’t have a village….I don’t live anywhere near my village.
Shoot! I don’t even live in a place long enough to build my village. We’ve moved every year since my son was born.
Most days it feels like I parent alone. My husband is a wonderful co-parent, but he goes to work every day, leaving me alone with the kids.
It’s just me. ME.
I am not a village. But I need one.
Oh, do I need one.
Truthfully, I have days that are so lonely, and I yearn for contact from someone besides my kids. I want to hold a conversation with someone other than my husband.
I want a girlfriend to share a cup of coffee with. A girlfriend who would volunteer to take my kids for an afternoon so I can get my haircut. I girlfriend who could come rescue me when the poop hits the fan, and knows to bring a bottle of wine with her. Someone who can be my emergency contact on school enrollment forms.
And I need someone to take care of too! I want to matter to someone outside the four walls of my house!
Sometimes I just feel so small. So insignificant.
I rattle around in my house wiping noses, changing diapers, doing endless amounts of laundry and dishes. I play and entertain. I kiss away boo-boos. I’m a jungle gym, a soft lap, provider of food, and hugs. I know I matter here.
Is that enough? I don’t know. Some days it doesn’t feel like enough.
One of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Melton, has a mantra that she uses a lot – “WE Can Do Hard Things”.
Some days that phrase just pisses me off. I want to believe in that WE. But most days it just feels like ME. Alone…just ME. “I Can do Hard Things”, and I’ve had to do really hard things.
It makes me angry, a searing hurt.
One day a few months ago, I was speaking to my Mom about my hurt and my loneliness. She stopped me mid-sentence, looked me in the eye and said “Amanda….you are NOT small!” with such conviction that it startled me. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was stunned.
Those four words shook me to my core.
Those four words brought up every piece of loneliness and hurt in my heart. I had felt so disconnected and isolated for so long, how could I be anything but small…meaningless?
I sat there, and looked in her eyes. There she was, my MOM. I am not small to her.
Quietly I said, “I am not small”. I let the words sink in.
Again, I said “I am not small” a little louder this time.
Then I said it again….”I am NOT small”. This time I meant it, and knew it was true. And I cried.
It hit me…
I am BIG!
I am BIG to my kids who look to me for love and guidance. I am BIG to my husband who shares this messy, beautiful life with me.
I am BIG to my friends, who may not live close by, but whom I laugh with, and who I call when the poops hit the fan. Sure they can’t come over with that bottle of wine, but they can can make me laugh and encourage me to keep going.
I am BIG to my extended family. I am loved by each and every one of them, and to them I am not small.
I am NOT small.
One day I will find that village…
You know what…Scratch that….
I have a village. It may not look like the typical village, but it’s my village.
When I look past the small circle of myself and my family, I see them. My village. They may not be next door, in my neighborhood, city, or even state, but they are there.
I have friends I can call. I have friends I can chat with on facebook and share a glass of wine with on video chat. They are there…and they remind me every day, that….
I AM NOT SMALL!
I have found my WE…and they’ve been there all along.
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!