Do you have a village? You know, that amazing group of people who attend every event, support every function and are cheerleaders at everything you and your family do. They come to every recital, school play, graduation, wedding, baby shower, and gala. They send money and call to congratulate you for winning your volleyball game. They’re the people you can always leave a plate for at the table because you know for a fact they’ll be there. They’re the first ones there and the last to leave. They’re your girls through thick and thin.
The first time I really understood the importance of the village was when I graduated with my master’s degree from Boston College. Two of my sisters and I were graduating at different levels (high school, bachelors, and masters) and had a joint graduation party, with the fourth one graduating the next semester. My mom is a party planning machine! She pulled together a group of people who were able to clean, cook, and decorate all in a matter of two weeks. The same individuals who were there for our eighth grade and high school graduations were there for this too. They were the cheerleaders at our events, and our support system whenever we need it. They always gave us the cutest cards, the most money, and the best advice. They helped us set up the parties and break them down when they were over.
We didn’t think too much of it because they were, you know, always there, but they were (and still are) some of the most important people in our lives. It was always obvious that those people loved our mother and us so much, and our mom reciprocated that love by nurturing her relationships.
Something we moms need to work on is being more grateful for our village and showing our appreciation. It’s so easy to be angry with the people who don’t show up, allowing those emotions to ruin our good time, instead of celebrating the people who are there. When I was pregnant, I’d read horror stories from other pregnant moms planning their baby shower. They would have 30 RSVPs and be so excited about choosing a theme, spending a lot of money on food, asking for game ideas, and posting beautiful pictures of the decor right before it started. Then, a few hours later, they would be in tears telling us that only five people showed up. The group would do their best to show support and comfort them by giving advice about cussing everyone out or cutting off all ties to the back-stabbers. This happened so often, and the responses were all the same. “Screw them!” “OMG, that’s so messed up! I’m so sorry they did that to you.” “That happened to me too, and it sucked.”
One thing I very rarely, if ever, saw was someone encouraging the mom to be grateful for the people who showed up. They didn’t recognize the village and value the fact that they were there, leaving them in the dust of the no-shows. How does that make the village feel? Less important, less visible, less present, and less interesting because the no-shows must be more important, right?
When you focus on negativity, you insult the amazing people who are by your side every step of the way and rob yourself of the benefits of gratitude. Show them you love them. When they’re the only ones who show up, let them know how much they mean to you. Stop focusing on the no-shows (whatever their reason) and spend that quality time with the village.
Ever since having the baby, I’ve seen the importance of a supportive village. I am so grateful for the people we can rely on for anything. Our daughter is loved and taken care of because of the village. You don’t have to have 50 friends to be important or feel like you have friends. All you need is a small core group of people who you have built a relationship with, trust around your children, and see as reliable when you need them.
Do you have a village? Do you show appreciation to them for showing their love and support? How can you build your relationship with your them?