Villages

I was recently accepted to a mentoring program through one of the nonprofits in town.  Based on the national “Open Table” model, the program trains people from an array of community sectors — including business, education, faith communities, healthcare and others — to organize and co-invest their abundant and sustainable relational and social capital in individuals with complex needs and solutions to daunting social challenges.  (Visit https://www.theopentable.org/ for more).  Succinctly, the program is about building relationships that create lasting change.  Logistically, this means four women and I went through eight weeks of training and will now meet as a group with a single mom every week for the next year.

I’ve fallen, recently, too.  I have felt lost trying to navigate massive changes happening personally and professionally.  Stress and choices made by others in which I have no say, but am ultimately affected by, have made it hard to get up in the mornings.  My co-parent has decided to move cross country this summer, which will drastically change the time he spends with our daughters.  Will drastically change his relationship with them.  And will drastically change my situation in becoming a full-time single mom.  There is a magnitude of grief and loss involved in terms of my relationship and friendship with him, but the affect this will have on our almost 11 and 14 year olds will be greater and everlasting.  I am all of the adjectives for anxious about the very near future.

When I was completing my application for the program, and again during introductions this past week, I talked about my own experiences being a mom.  The support system of family and friends has been vast and constant.  I am incredibly grateful that my daughters have been surrounded by a village of individuals who truly love and care about them.  I am grateful that the same support has been there for me.  The “table” all voiced their own reasons for wanting to be involved in this program.  All of us stated a variation of “I want to show up for you.  I want to provide support.  I want to be part of something bigger than myself.”  I’m excited to embark on this journey with women I never would have crossed paths with in any other circumstance.  I am hopeful that meaningful connections will be established through consistent and genuine communication and that we can be part of supporting this mom’s journey.

I met with my doctor last week after realizing that I couldn’t remember a day that I didn’t cry.  My coping through dysfunctional and destructive habits based in addiction has led me into deeper depression.  My counselor reminds me that I am moving through the grief cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  I feel stuck between anger and sadness.  I know this will change, slowly, over time.  On a daily basis though, the number of layers to attempt to sort through is overwhelming.

“These changes are huge,” my doctor agreed, “what do we do to make sure you have the support you need to be able to support your kids?”  I can make changes to my daily habits and routines.  Continue to talk to my counselor.  Eat consciously, exercise, meditate, do yoga, make fun plans, do more creative things, start a different anti-depressant, figure out how to actually sleep at night.  I need to take care of myself in order to take care of my girls.

I will reach out to that village.  Remember I have that village.  And more importantly, remember that my girls do too.

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