I don’t have the right words to intro this- the first A Good Day In The Village guest post.
Do you remember Jamie, the mom who discovered she had breast cancer while pregnant with her 2nd baby? Four years ago, I received an email from her in the middle of the night, simply asking me if I might know how she could get her hands on some donor breastmilk to feed her daughter once she was born.
I came here, and HUNDREDS of you responded, shared, called your friends to action. Time.com covered the story of your tremendous outpouring of love and support.
Once again, shortly after launching A Good Day In The Village, I got another email from Jamie that I read late at night. Once again, it took my breath away and made me cry.
I’ll say no more, and leave it up to her to tell the rest…
I’d hazard a guess that most of us, these days at least, don’t set out to create a village when we look to start a family. We are far too busy imagining how we will correct all of the mistakes we’ve seen other parents make, pick the perfect crib set, write out the perfect birth plan.
I joke, but especially if we are an extremely introverted, very shy individual to begin with, forming a village probably falls far down on the list.
Well, life doesn’t always cooperate with our intentions, and the first time I learned this was a few years back. Some of the long time Baby Rabies readers may remember me from 4 years ago. I needed help and I didn’t know where to turn. I reached out to Jill in the middle of the night for some advice on acquiring donor milk, as I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 22 weeks pregnant with my daughter. Jill provided me with a venue to acquire a village, one that fed my daughter for almost a year.
Because life is life and not a fairy tale, my story continues with a not so happy ending.
After making a move to Utah last year that we always wanted to make, after 3 years of clean tests and cautious celebration, the cancer returned last winter. I am now a Stage 4 cancer patient. I don’t know how much time I have, but I know that it is finite.
We decided to move back to California, because frankly it’s incredibly hard to be sick in the mountains with 2 kids. My new goal upon returning – if I’m not going to be able to be there for my kids then I need to find people who will – I need to form a village around my kids, different from friends and family who will of course be in their lives with much love – but an everyday village – people who will see my kids at school, around the neighborhood and know what’s going on with them, what’s going on at school, little everyday things that we take for granted.
Won’t my husband do this, you ask? Of course he will, I have no greater faith in someone I’ll be leaving my children with – but I’m talking about the things I do every day – know that crazy sock day is coming up or know that this kid wasn’t very nice to that kid on the playground, or know who had a great day and got to be the super star.
We moved during Spring Break – Jack and I being the “new” family on the playground even though we’ve lived in the neighborhood for 13 years prior. I was worried my bald, bandanna’d head would scare some kids, but after nervously looking around, kids came up to Jack and introduced themselves and off he went – my mama heart was almost crying with joy. And then people started introducing themselves to me – and after a few days, this introverted, nervous mom started talking to people and actually making friends.
And it started without my even trying…a village started forming…moms with kids my kids’ ages who actually were interested in us and who we are so thankful for. These moms, to whom I was a virtual stranger a few months ago, have helped me with Amelia when I became very ill at the end of the school year, have brought dinner, have checked in on us….they have brought us into their homes and their hearts and their prayers and I am more grateful than I can put into words.
And the best thing of all…I see them hug my kids and care about them and my heart swells and breaks simultaneously.
The days and moments that I can foresee for them happiness after heartbreak, joy after pain, fun after sadness…those are good days in the village.
In speaking with Jamie, she expressed that she was afraid this would be too sad of a story for A Good Day In The Village. While I do feel sadness for her and her family, I also feel that hope that she has for them, and the happiness that she feels knowing she’s surrounded by amazing people, and I have a feeling many of you may feel the same way.
Plus, we are here for each other even in the bad times, right? Especially through the bad times.
I am honored that this has been a platform for her to share her story and connect with others when she needed them. I am humbled by how many of you have been that village for her and will continue to be, and all the other wonderful people who will surround her. Thank you for being incredible.
You can read more about Jamie on her blog 22 Weeks And Cancer.