For the past five years I’ve been desperately searching for “my village”. To be honest I thought having kids would mean this would come easily. But it hasn’t. It’s never been easy.
See, I’ve always had trouble making friends. My entire life, I’ve never had a big group of friends around me, actually, I’ve never even had a small group. I’ve always been more of a lone wolf.
People have told me that I “come on a little strong at times”, or that I’m “too honest” some have even recognized and told me that I’m “misunderstood”’ - yet they still leave too not wanting to take the time or effort to actually get to know me.
I don’t drink coffee… or beer which has made social situations a little awkward for me. I’ve felt excluded because of this on more than one occasion in my lifetime, even though I’ve figured out my own strategies to combat these personal preferences. I’m sure I’ve still lost the opportunity to make a friend of two because of it. The reasons are endless for why the struggle to make new friends is real.
Even in high school I should have noticed this was beginning. I didn’t have a strong group of friends because I kept flipping. See I was part of the drama club, the A/V club AND held a position on the varsity Basketball and Track teams. So one day I was attempting to hang out with my artsy drama geek friends, while the next I was on the road to the next basketball game with the jocks.
It didn't help that my parents got me working at a very young age which put more focus on work ethic and building a career and less on social interactions. And then I was pulled from my high school early and had to finish my classes online, immediately and abruptly severing any and all relationships I had.
To make matters worse, I was the first one of my class to flee town. I didn’t even stick around long enough to write my final exams or attend graduation. For the next decade I jumped around a lot moving 12 times before finally settling in Kelowna. So, it should come as no surprise that entering into the next stage of life I would have no village.
Now, five years into being a parent and I desperately need a village around me. But now I have a bigger dilemma to wrestle with:
What happens when you’re MY village, but I can’t be YOURS?
I can’t be the only parent who is running on empty. Completely drained and burnt out. Especially in the special needs community… we’re ALL that way! I want to help other parents out so badly. I want to be there for them when they are feeling like I am. But I don’t have enough resources left for my own family, let alone someone else’s. So then what?
Not that I even have a village to mooch off of, but I feel this is yet another strike in attempting to FIND my village. I feel like in the interview questions when they ask me “will you be there for others equal to how much others will be there for you?” I have to answer “no”. And that’s not going to help my case when I submit my village application form.
I keep losing people. People keep walking out on me and I’m afraid it’s because I need more from people than I can give. Now this is not to say it will always be like this, but it’s a risk - because it might be! My life is complicated. My kids are complex and unique. We’re not the white picket fence, cookie cutter family you see in the movies.
So, I guess, deep down, I keep hoping we’ll meet up with another complex, unique family or families and together we’ll form our village.
Until then though, I feel like I’m on an island desperately hoping someone will row out to meet us and make this parenting journey less isolating and more bearable.