I lost my village for a while.
Okay, I didn’t lose it – I hid from it.
I hid because I didn’t want to confront them, or rather them to confront me.
I had my metaphorical fingers in my ears and was singling “La La La” over how awful things were. I didn’t want to go out and see anyone, or call, or text, or visit, because I couldn’t talk about my life out loud – even to myself.
Instead I went to bed early. And tried to regroup. And to get up the next day with more energy to plough into my family, and to try harder to make everyone happy.
Perhaps the most hurtful thing that has been said during my break-up, is that he saw me do that. He saw me grab hold of the new day and determine to give it my everything. To make it work.
It was not enough.
His last straw, apparently, was three years ago. That’s a long, long time to watch somebody try.
Anyway, since then I have finally taken my fingers out of my ears, unburied my head from the sand, and looked around. And to my surprise, my village had not packed up and resettled elsewhere.
They were waiting at the borders, for me to reopen the gates.
And I literally can’t describe how grateful I am for that.
So this is a thank you. To the village. The friends, family, and perfect strangers who have been there.
Thank you to the friends who have listened.
Thank you to the friends who have checked me when I have needed it.
Thank you to the friends who have told me the things I don’t want to hear.
Thank you to the friends who have held me while I’ve howled. It has not been pretty.
Thank you to the friends who’ve forgiven me when I’ve erred.
Thank you to the friend who lent me her home office when I had no broadband.
Thank you to the family who lent me money when I had no credit card.
(Thank you also for replacing the broken washer and dryer so I can do less loads and set timers and try and keep on top of the house).
Thank you to the friend who helped me get a permanent job, when I really, really, really needed it.
Thank you to the colleagues bearing with me.
Thank you to the work-mate for the inconsequential chatter that helped me keep it together after something landed during a work conference.
Thank you to the friend who sorted out my tech. (Ongoing).
Thank you to the friends feeding me because I sometimes can’t face cooking for one.
Thank you to the friend who helped me get to grip with my personal finances, because I was that stupid woman who had never involved herself in them before.
Thank you to the family who paid my council tax in a hurry – because I didn’t know they don’t send you a bill until I got the angry letters (yes, I’m that clueless, and yes, this is apparently a Thing they happens to lots of folks on separation).
Thank you also for lending me money for things like solicitors fees and car insurance, until I got my arse in gear and got to my savings.
Thank you to the friend who fixed my inexplicably online heating (why is this a thing??), and my music streaming systems. (I had no idea how much music meant to us until it wasn’t there any more! #Firstworldproblems. #ImissCDs).
Thank you to the friend who gave me a lift to the Small Small’s hospital appointment in the worst of the snow.
Thank you to the friend walking the Big Small into school through the snow when the Small Small was too sick to be out in the cold.
Thank you to the friend who gave me her old bras, for putting my weight-loss saggy boobs back in approximately the right location (or at least up from around my waist).
Thank you to the friend who invited me on their mini-break, because the kids haven’t had a holiday for forever, and to her lovely husband, who drove to fetch me when I had a meltdown about the journey. It’s literally the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. (And they didn’t let me pay for a thing).
Thank you to the friends sharing their weekend and holiday time with me.
Thank you to the family who sourced and financed Catonthenetheredge – she has brightened our lives already.
Thank you to the friend who came to help me clean when it really was just all too much – and for de-furring my hoover. (Please come again soon).
Thank you the friends who have kept me company when I have struggled to be alone in the house.
Thank you to the friends being friends to my kids – they need all the support and love they can get.
Thank you to the friends who keep checking in, stick with me when I’m slow to respond, and bear with me when I go back over old ground, again. I am moving forwards, slowly. Honest. It’s just hard.
Thank you to the friend keeping me in comfort-fudge.
Thank you to the various people at various services/organisations who have helped me get to grips with Stuff. (There is so much damn Stuff to sort, while trying to keep it together and keep everything going).
Thank you to the strangers on here who have made me feel less alone. I started the blog because I was so lonely in motherhood – and it’s never been more of a lifeline.
There are a million thank yous I have missed. But I am grateful for each and every kindness – in fact I’m teary thinking about them, which is largely why I have to stop here.
I still find kindness kind of surprising. And that’s sad in itself, isn’t it?
Anyway. Thank you village. I’m not sure I deserve you. I’ll try to.
And when the brown stuff hits another fan, I promise I will step up to be someone else’s village back.
Because that’s how villages work.