Parenting -- whether with an involved spouse or not -- is emotionally draining and emotionally rewarding work. Parenting children through various stages of grief on top of various stages of typical development is even more so. Parenting when you're dealing with your own grief adds a little more complexity.
And then there's the business of running a household and working and exercising and volunteering. Juggling all of that -- well, when I think about it, that's when I feel fully the weight.
But I'm never carrying the weight all by myself, because Cooper, Katie and I are members of an incredible village of folks who are in the business of love and support and practical help.
I hesitate to make a list for fear I'll forget someone, but I do want to share a snapshot of just the past week or so.
|Katie, Cooper, Mike and the banjo|
- Neighbor Mike opened his garage workshop to guide Cooper through the creation of a handmade banjo. (Cooper's science assignment was to create a musical instrument. He had ambitious plans.)
- Sarah spent one of her rare weekdays off at the house, cooking, playing and visiting.
- The Chollicks brought Cooper home from a party while I was working.
- Jim and Betty cooked and delivered dinner and visited on a particularly busy day.
- Kristin shared homemade spaghetti sauce and pasta.
- Sharon took care of Cooper and Katie so I could attend a church committee meeting. (And brought with her two books that are now in heavy rotation.)
- Melinda shared chicken tacos.
- Scout dads shepherded Cooper through a winter Webelos campout.
Some of the help I ask for. Some of it is offered out of the blue. All of it is sincerely appreciated and helps keep this little family running smoothly.
I often think of the families who don't have so much help, the single moms who don't live in a community surrounded by folks with time and resources to offer. I know that, despite our heavy loss, we are blessed.
No one would choose these circumstances. But I would choose this village every single time.
|Cooper and Katie at the Steve Damm Spot, Jan. 8, 2012|