A Millennial Mom's Thank-You Letter to "the Village"

StockSnap | Tanja Heffner
StockSnap | Tanja Heffner

We moms get a lot of credit. Much of it is deserved, which is why I do not contest being celebrated once a year (that's it?!) on Mother's Day. I live for that one day where everyone — from my toddler to my husband to my own mother to the waiter serving me my second mimosa at brunch — tips their hats to the bang-up job I'm doing as a mom.

But as much as I'd like to take all the credit (and if you asked my husband, I do), I know for a fact that I wouldn't even resemble a human, nevermind a fully functioning one raising two kids, without my support system. Without my village.

These days, people opine that "the village" is dead. That, thanks to our generation up and moving away from "home" and using smartphones, we no longer have a built-in community surrounding us with love. On some level it's true — there are mornings I wake up kicking myself for living so far from my parents and siblings. But with a combination of effort and mostly luck, I've managed to mod-podge a "millennial version" of the village that I'd be lost without.

To them, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to my village.

Thank you for sitting with me, not saying a word. Just sitting.

Thank you for not just offering help but getting really specific about it: "I'm going to bring you dinner on Tuesday night — what have you been craving?" "I'm going to take the kids to the park so you can take a shower." "I'm going to change the baby's diaper, don't get up."

Thank you for answering my text messages, whether it's 3 in the afternoon and you're on a work deadline or 3 in the morning and the buzz of your phone woke you from a really nice REM state.

Thank you for telling me I'm beautiful, that I look great, that my body is amazing. I often forget these days that it is.

Thank you for complimenting my boobs in a way that isn't at all icky.

Thank you for distracting me from the hard times and reminding me of the good ones. Thank you for giving me the extra push I need to get through the longer days.

Thank you for yelling over my midtantrum child that I'm doing a good job and that she's a good kid.

Thank you for recognizing when I actually want advice – for you to tell me what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it – and when I want you to just be the supportive cheerleader. Mostly, though, thank you for recognizing that sometimes, what I want doesn't matter and you are going to be the friend I need.

Thank you to my faraway village.

Thank you for visiting.

Thank you for visiting and understanding that while we once said, "Oh, we got this three-bedroom condo so our family could always stay with us!" . . . we need you to rent an Airbnb.

Thank you for not making me feel guilty for not replying to your email(s).

Thank you for the sweet gifts we get in the mail — they make me realize how often you are truly thinking of us — and for not expecting me to send a thank-you card in a timely fashion.

Thank you for the random "this reminded me of you" text message and for tagging me in that meme you knew would give me a laugh.

Thank you for always being here when I need you, even if you are technically there.

Thank you to the strangers, the previously unknown members of my village.

Thank you for smiling at me. Knowing smiles, nostalgic smiles, "Honey, I've been there" smiles.

Thank you for, when we're all waiting in a long line to check out at the grocery store and a new register opens up, letting me — with a baby wrapped on my chest and a cartful of frozen dinners — go ahead of you.

Thank you to the FedEx delivery person who, after realizing I had a yappy dog and a napping baby, agreed not to buzz my unit unless absolutely necessary.

Thank you for insisting my toddler and I take your seat on the train, even when I said, "Oh, it's OK, we're fine." It's as if you knew I'm bad at taking favors.

Thank you for, when I'm calling to dispute a charge on my credit card and you hear my baby's cries in the background, you stop to congratulate me and ask how I'm doing.

Thank you for pointedly telling me not to apologize when I say "sorry" as my toddler barrels in front of you on the sidewalk.

Thank you for always "liking" my posts in our Facebook moms group, for sharing your anecdotal advice, and for always adding a "you got this" and a bicep emoji — even though we've never actually met.

Most of all, village, thank you for all the things I can't begin to thank you for — either because I've lost track of my good graces in trying to keep my kiddos alive and they've gone unnoticed or because they are too monumental to show any level of equivalent appreciation. Thank you for being a part of my tribe. I hope I'm able to be a part of yours just the same.