Silver Lining: An Appreciate for Community

Being on bedrest gives a woman plenty of time to think. Admittedly, a bit too much. But above all else, the journey so far (on Day 9 of hospital bedrest today! Baby due in 102 days but only 17 more days until we make our first milestone of 28 weeks!) has had a true silver lining sparkling - it has given me an opportunity to sit back and appreciate the community we have found out here. 

We found out we were pregnant again the morning we moved into our rental in Palo Alto back in June. I had a sneaking suspicion, and took a test that morning, waiting until the movers had left and house was unpacked to tell Grant that evening. We were both pretty surprised (Mamas: this is what happens when you cut out nightfeedings!) and excited- but admittedly a bit terrified as we were in a brand new town with all of our friends who had helped us through our pregnancy with Grace back in D.C. and this meant finding all new doctors.

Overwhelmed by the move coupled with raging pregnancy hormones, I had a much more difficult time adjusting to life in Silicon Valley than we anticipated - most of my high school and college friends were living up in San Francisco without children, and we didn't really know anyone in Palo Alto and were facing a very difficult time finding a church or any sense of community. A guy friend of mine from college mentioned his wife met a bunch of her mom-friends on Nextdoor for playdates, so I figured I would give it a whirl posting a desperate:

"First time SAHM of 9 month old girl, just moved to the neighborhood looking to meet other moms"

Fortunately, my message was replied to by a beautiful and brilliant mom who invited me to meet up with her weekly summer playdates at a local park. The thrill was like being asked out on a first date! Grace & I each tried on about 15 outfits trying to figure out what peninsula moms wear to the park (shorts and tank tops- it was HOT!) and packed our stroller with every imaginable goodie. We must have looked homeless. 

Well instantly upon meeting I knew I had found someone special. Let's call her "Mrs. R" as I haven't asked to blog about her, was so warm and inviting, introducing me to a dozen incredible mamas as we chased after our crazy kids who were taking over every inch of the playground. While conversation are always abbreviated when I have a wiggly Graceface in my arms, every woman I met was the rare combination of interested and interesting. Many had also given up careers they loved to tackle the challenges of motherhood, and sympathized with the struggle. Without hesitation, the group took me in and I began looking forward to Tuesday playdates and Mrs. R and I were scheduling regular outings with our little ones and husbands in tow.

When September came around, the group transitioned to Mother's Together at Menlo Presbyterian on Tuesday mornings, an opportunity for moms to gather in fellowship and prayer while our little ones were taken care of in the nursery. The first week I walked in, I was stunned-- it was like a sorority, high in energy with 120 women hugging and chatting.  I had no idea how much I had been missing having an adult conversation without Grace counting my teeth with her little fingers or pulling my hair, but after the first week I instantly felt at home. The women were SO nice - I had to pinch myself to ensure I wasn't dreaming - and introduced themselves immediately seeing I was new. As we went around the table in the coming weeks reflecting on thoughtful questions and getting to know each other, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I had been given an opportunity to join this community- each week I felt like I was learning so much from these peers on how to handle this chapter of motherhood. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Last Wednesday when we found out I would be admitted and I would be here until the baby came or at least we hit 28 weeks, one of my first thoughts was how upset I was to be missing our weekly MT meetings. Desperate for a nanny and still limited on mom-resources here in the Bay Area- I sent a panicked email out to my MT small group asking for suggestions for sitters, nannies, etc. who could help my mom and Grant with Grace over the next few weeks. Instantly, my inbox was flooded with names and numbers and well wishes. These women, juggling kids of their own, were offering to take Grace for a few hours each week, send meals to Grant and help out in just about any imaginable way- I couldn't believe it! I was floored- most of them barely knew me, yet were so selfless and so quick to action, true models of Christianity. 

To help out, we will call her Mrs. L, even invited Grace to come join her nanny and daughter twice a week - and it has been the greatest for my mom to have a break (M/W/F are her bad days with her MS, the day after shots) - something that has helped our family exponentially as I am delighted Grace is having playdates and a chance to interact with other kids, and a chance for my mom to get a break. Imagine my surprise when I also found out that she went out of her way to take her dog to daycare because she didn't want Grace to be uncomfortable around him. Can you believe that sort of kindness and thoughtfulness- mind you, this is also while she is managing a house remodel and planning a big birthday party for her husband this weekend!? I couldn't believe it! Mrs. S, pregnant herself and one of the most creative and vivacious spirits I've ever had a blessing to meet, had the group put together an INCREDIBLE care package for me (it needs a name grander than "care package"- it was the most impressive thing I have ever seen) with notes from all of these women with inspiring words and treats from manicure sets to knitting kits and books that will help me pass the time. I was stunned with gratitude.

This journey has showed quite a few silver linings already, but best of all has to be how lucky my family is to have found community. I pray I have an opportunity to repay the kindness these women have bestowed upon me- from welcoming me to their group  to caring for me while I am here. God is good, I am #blessed.