We found hope and laughter in unexpected places. We were taught about faith in small, quiet moments. I have tried (and failed) to put my feelings about this year into words and all I come back to is that “it took a village.”
Kindergarten took a village but we made it.
Last Friday as we drove into work and the boys got ready at home for their last day of school, I turned to John with tears in my eyes. I am sure he was ready for me to become a sentimental fool, recounting the year and my wonder in our sons in overly dramatic fashion.
Instead I wiped my tears and punched him lovingly in the shoulder.
“We did it!” I yelled. “I am so proud of us.”
He looked at me, sideways, and smiled, “you mean we all did it?”
“No!” I sing-songed, “I knew the boys would make it through kindergarten. I mean it’s Kindergarten! I’m more impressed with us for getting to the end of this in one piece. New school, new schedule, new sports and new bosses at work along with a whole host of obstacles in our way and we found our way to the finish line with kids that are smarter, braver and cuter than ever before. Plus we’re all still alive.”
When the boys were merely babies and then toddlers I used to tell myself, as I would fall exhausted into my bed, that if everyone in my house was still breathing then it was a successful day.
I still feel that way since parenting is hard.
In typical fashion he allowed me my own little celebration.
But I know it wasn’t just us. Sure Giovanni and Jacob did their share of learning and growing but it was the village that held us up and made it all possible.
It was my mom and stepdad who gave us advice, attended bingo and soccer games and end of the year picnics. It was Grandma and Pop-Pop who took over when Mother Nature got wicked this winter and watched Shrek the Musical far more times than they wanted allowing us to save some vacation days for, um, vacation. I can’t say thank you enough to my parents. They were /are the first cornerstone of this village even in the midst of overwhelming grief of their own. They lost a son and then took care of mine, they celebrated kindergarten as much as we did and I’ll never have enough words for how grateful I am.
But our village had 3 more cornerstones, lifting up our family.
My sister stepped in when my parents couldn’t. She’d arrived like Mary Poppins with bags of munchkin donuts and coloring books until she gave the word “Aunt “new meaning. Alongside her, my best friends Lisa and Noelle offered me humor, hugs and sanity checks when I needed them. These three women were a constant source of strength and reminded me often that even when I felt like a pretty lousy sister, wife or mother, that they saw, loved and believed in me. I’m a lucky “sister.”
Next in was Carly. I don’t talk about our rock star nanny very much, but I tell her about once a week that I couldn’t do what I do if she wasn’t in our lives. We found Carly last summer through Care.com when we realized we were going to need a nanny in the mornings and it’s the best online find I’ve ever had. She’s kind, smart, patient (whoa, is she ever) and when she shows up at 6am as we are heading out the door I know that our sons are good hands. You can’t buy that kind of comfort and trust and I feel very lucky to have Carly as a part of our family.
And last but not least I turn to all the people from Our Lady. The other kindergarten parents, the teachers and amazing staff and even the other (older) children that took this journey with us, allowed us into their lives and family rooms and made us a “family”.
I feel a need to shout out to women like Kii, Jen, Jackie, Colleen, Jen, Anna, Rochelle, Chrissy, Kendra and my Morgan, the other moms who commiserated with me as school started, who taught me the ropes and wrapped me in virtual hugs when Ben died, who giggled with me with through the field trips and always gave me a new perspective and a whole lot of love. Thank you for holding my hand and my heart this year. You’re the gift Kindergarten gave me.
And my roof on this amazing house and village are my internet friends ; my virtual village and community that keeps me centered, sane and understood. Thank you for the virtual hugs, cocktails and place to rest my heart when it needs it. You mean so much to me.
We just couldn’t have done it without any of you.
These amazing little Kindergarten graduates are older, smarter, cuter, kinder and safe because of all of you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
(And Giovanni and Jacob? Mommy is so incredibly proud of everything you accomplished this year xo)
Linking with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out