Someday I will write a much more eloquent post about this. For now, I have a one-year-old baby and my brain is a fog of not-quite-enough sleep and lactation hormones, so words fail me, except to say this:
I feel absolutely honored and overwhelmed to know so many wonderful families here in the Richmond area. It has been amazing over the past four and a half years to meet so many people who are willing to share so much of themselves. I hope that I am able to repay your kindness so that all of you might feel as loved as my family does.
Lately I have been feeling especially grateful to have some particular people in our lives:
Thank you to Rebecca Nowicki, who was the sole MDC Richmonder willing to actually make a plan to meet up with a new mama in town, and who invited me that same day to join her playgroup. That generous and trusting invitation led to several of my most cherished friendships with other mothers, and I have no doubt that some of their children will be lifelong friends of my children. Rebecca was also the first homebirther I ever knew, and the reason I wished I had planned a homebirth with Reese, and never had a doubt that I would with Xander.
Thank you to Corinna Sherlip, who was one of those playgroup mothers, and who is always ready to supply companionship and a cup of tea. You have saved my sanity on many occasions. Most recently, you changed your own plans on a day when my car needed to be towed to the shop. You came to rescue a stranded mother and three children, entertained one of those children all day, and fed and comforted all of us. You are amazing. I am so thrilled to live just a few blocks from you now, and it lifted my heart to look out my front window and see you coming unexpectedly up the walk!
Thank you to Janel Gagnon, another former playgroup mama and a fellow "Nancy mom", who introduced us to The Sabot School lo these many years ago (ok, it was about 3 years ago). Becoming a member of the Sabot community has truly been life-changing for us. It has affected how we parent, who we know, where we fit into the community. Although she now lives across the country, Janel continues to touch my life through a mothering movement she is creating, Mothers Uniting Mothers (post coming soon), and through her daughter Annika's preschool friendship with Griffin. I continue to discover how important those early friendships are to my children.
Thank you to Sarah Allen-Short and Adam Short, who have given me more support lately than perhaps I will ever deserve. I met Adam and Sarah in Nancy's waiting room just over a year ago and our sons were born just a day apart. I bonded with both of them on the Sabot playground over sleep deprivation and infant milestones, depression and anxiety, birth advocacy and parenting three-year-olds, and sometimes music and philosophy. Mostly these are just the kind of people you can just *be* with and feel comfortable, the kind you don't mind inviting over when your floors are spotted with juice drips and dirty kid footprints. Adam and Sarah are both bluntly honest and completely giving of themselves, and most recently pretty much adopted my family while we were moving, taking my children for entire days, feeding us dinner, giving me hugs and support when I was crying about peeling lead paint.
Thank you to Gina Romagnoli, whose last name I can both spell and pronouce, and whose son Gavin is another of those kids who I hope will be lifelong friends with Griff. Gina has always seemed like the embodiment of calm to me (no mistake that she's a yoga instructor), and is such a role model for remaining calm even when one is uncertain. She's also a kindred spirit with whom I share my idealistic homeschooling dreams, institutional misgivings, and practical fitting-in, making-it-work needs.
There are many others who are becoming part of our local tribe, the family we choose for ourselves, as well as many beyond Richmond who are close to our hearts and who help to keep us afloat. I've been lucky that my generation has the internet to help bring people together, enabling me to meet members of my mothering circle like Janna and Lynz and Angela and the other Haven mamas, as well as giving busy local mamas who can't always stop to chat the chance to get to know each other a little better via Facebook or a blog post (hi, Patience!), reconnect when life gets too busy to visit (hey, Tricia!) or connect after kinda-sorta having overlapping social circles for years (hi, Melissa!).
I'm profoundly grateful to have all of you in my life, and hope that I can give all of you the support that you have shown me. At the very least, you are always welcome at our house, and I hope that our porches see many years of visits over cups of tea and playing children.