Until you have kids, it is easy to underestimate the power of a support system and community. You know them — the friend that brings you dinner or a Diet Coke when you are having a bad day. Or the ones who will take your kids for a play date when you need to get something done. Or the ones who really listen to you during your highest of highs and lowest of lows.
Since our immediate family lives more than 800 miles from us, our community is made up of my aunts and some very special friends. Some of these friends are relatively new (since Jack has been in school) and some have been in our lives longer and have seen us through the births of both boys and beyond. We know that no matter the situation, we can call on them and they would help us in an instant and we would so the same for them.
In December, I was horribly sick for ten days. During that stretch, Jack’s school had two days off for conferences, so he was home with us. At the height of my illness I crawled off the sofa long enough to somehow get Will to school. As I sat in the hallway of the preschool waiting for the teacher to arrive, my friend Jenni took one look at me and said "I will come by the house to get Jack in 45 minutes." When she picked Jack up, she let me know that she would pick up Will from school and feed both boys lunch. She brought them home in the early afternoon allowing me to rest and spend precious and rare time focusing solely on myself and my recovery. Jenni already has four kids of her own and had already committed to watching another friend’s child for a couple hours on top of her commitment to me. Seven kids for lunch. For someone with no immediate family in the area, this gesture was a lifesaver and by that night I was feeling much better. It was also a vivid reminder of how lucky we are to have friends like Jenni.
Raising kids is hard work. Communities help get you through when all of life’s extras seem to get in the way.