Sunday, October 12, 2008

It Takes a Village

The other day I was watching Cole play with his choo choos, cars, and favorite toys of the moment. It was his birthday not too long ago so we're still weeding our way thru all new toys. We stumbled upon one still in the package.. Cole was wrestling with getting the package open...
"Bubba can I help you with that?" I asked... "No mommy..I do it.."

God reveals our character to us by giving us children..who emulate us and our habits both good and bad. Then He chuckles when we struggle with being the parent to our character flaws. My Mr. Independent son was like a big dose of reality for me. I do own a T-shirt that says "I can do it!" I am really really bad at asking for help. I'm also really bad at accepting it or admitting that I need it, but I am getting a little better. Not so long ago I had an epiphany... I thought that I'm usually the person who helps out other people. I'll generally do what I can and show up in a time of need. I reciprocate. I give back...why can't I take a little too?

Someone really special to me frequently says " I don't need anyone or anything" half joking of course, but I usually respond with "Yes you do.." We all do. We weren't meant to figure out the journey by ourselves. Needing people and helping people, caring and depending upon other helps us make sense of this thing called life. I am frequently made better by the people who stumble into my life. So yes, I need them.

Which brings me to "It Takes a Village" which is a theory and book by Hillary Clinton. In it she basically advocates the importance of extended family and community to raise a child. I know lots of you don't agree with her politics, but she hit home for me with this. She's right. We need a Village. What has surprised me in the past year is who showed up for me in my time of need. My close circle of friends showed up for me in every way imaginable. My neighbors who are constantly looking out for me. My family. The new friends that have made their way into my heart and my life..

But there is one family that has really been there for me every step of the way.

I remember the day I realized that the "thing" I had been hiding from and covering up and ashamed of was my marriage. I was at church. The sermon was about letting go of these things.. of giving them up to God. My pastor had set up trays of sand throughout the sanctuary so that we could write it in the sand individually, pray about it, and let it go. I am guessing you can figure out what I wrote in the sand that day.

The following week I sought out a therapist. I met my pastor for coffee and began the process of trying to fix my marriage with the guidance of professionals because my solo attempts over the past year had failed miserably. I was given some very real challenges by my pastor and therapist. I did my homework. I learned the lessons and then there came a time where all I did (it felt like) was pray about it and I felt like God answered. I couldn't fix it by myself. I needed to burn my "I can do it!" T-shirt because I've learned I can't. Admitting it has been liberating.

I met my Pastor for coffee again one Friday morning...months later. He would be one of the hardest people to tell that I wasn't going to make it work, but I needed his insight on how to make sure that I made it easiest for Cole. How could I make sure I put him around positive male role models so that he would grow to be a good man? He never really answered me..other than to tell me that my focus needed to be on Cole and to pray. I guess on some level I expected to receive a verbal lashing and a reminder of the sin of divorce, but all I received was compassion and acceptance.

He never really answered me, but his amazing wife who's a pro with children now watches Cole during the work week. She just totes Cole everywhere and I love it. My pastor spends time with Cole.. Cole can now say "Starbucks" as it is a favorite hang out but I'm glad because since he began spending time with Cole.. Cole is no longer afraid of men, seeks them out and now openly gives hugs. Their daughters babysit for me all the time so I can actually have a break.... they took us in.

I have a pretty awesome Village. While there isn't the police officer, the construction worker, the Indian, the biker, or a military man and we don't sing "Macho Man" or "YMCA" there's me, Cole, and a lot of really special people who have accepted us along the way.

Alrighty.. I have a cup of coffee to finish. Holla!