You know, when you struggle with depression, it's hard to see the world as a good place sometimes. I don't want to stick my head in the sand and ignore the reality of the world we live in, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the terrible things going on. Pair that with this challenging stage of parenting a toddler, feeling lonely, and all the changes our family has had in the last couple months, and it's been hard to feel hopeful at times.
I've been realizing lately why having people in your life is so important. Cheerleaders, people who support you no matter what, friends who love you enough to listen to all your details no matter how long it takes for you to hash them out. And sometimes, God brings strangers into your life at just the right moment that give you a glimpse of hope that you really need.
I've always heard the term "it takes a village" when it comes to raising children, and I think I'm starting to understand some of the value in that phrase. I've had two experiences lately that nearly brought me to tears and inspired me to be one of those same kind of strangers- the kind that come along side of you, look you in the eye, and say, "I got you, I understand".
The first time was during a visit to Virginia. I was shopping with my mom when I realized Noah needed a new diaper (okay, okay, my pregnant self had to pee for the tenth time, too!). Noah and I headed to the bathroom and told my mom we'd meet her in another store. After I changed Noah, we went into the handicapped stall so he had room to stand while I went. Most of the time he's great and patient, but this day he was ripping the toilet paper off the roll, trying to crawl around on the nasty floor, and eventually made his way to the door and crawled under it. I heard "Can I help you with him?" from outside of the stall. As I didn't have much of a choice at the time, I chuckled and gave a "Sure, thank you so much!" as I tried to hurry. I grabbed my bags and opened the door to a woman in her thirties, surrounded by five of her own children under the age of 12, holding Noah and washing his hands over the sink. She looked at me and said sweetly, "Trust me, I've been there" and she finished drying Noah's hands and handed him to me. I'll admit, I was a little nervous in those few seconds. But what I found was grace and a pure heart in the form of another good mama.
Last week I had a chiropractor appointment. The office is nice and open, I can see Noah from the table, and they have a great playroom for the kids that is still visible from the main area. I enjoy my time laying on my stomach (the only time I get to do that!) waiting for the chiropractor, but it takes me awhile to get up and respond if Noah needs guidance or has a need. Today he was climbing on the kids' plastic picnic table when he fell off and landed on his back. I heard him cry, but another mom was in the playroom getting her girls and got to him before I could even get up from the table. I looked over and she had him in her arms comforting him and was able to soothe him back into playing comfortably. She didn't have to do that, as she had three of her own there to worry about and a very pregnant belly; but she did. And although she didn't say "I've got you, I've been there", she didn't have to. Again, I felt grateful at even this small gesture of grace and kindness.
Sometimes you need even those little tiny events to warm your heart and remind you that there are hopeful moments and good people. There are those who make up the village that are a permanent part of your life- family, life-long friends; but then you meet the people who make up the other half of the village. You probably won't ever see them again, but they step in and offer some no-strings-attached love and support in a moment when you need it. I'm determined to offer that same support when I feel the situation calls for it. It may not always be welcomed, but I want to be part of that village for someone else; because I really do get it, and I really have been there.