Today I sat over coffee with a friend I love so dearly. It has been months since I’ve seen her and sat with her, face to face. But with her, there is no front. I don’t know how you learn to trust the people you trust, but you just do. And we heaved right in. Because there was so much hard to sift through. So much we needed to share to unfold and refold in the shaping of our lives. Because with the people you trust, you want them to walk alongside you, and know your truth. You want them to know the way she knew when she asked me how I was, and I said I was okay, that I was not in fact okay. She knows who I am, not because we share countless experiences, but because we trust one another to come into each other’s space and be real and see each other’s truths.
She is brave and I am thankful she is where she has found herself on this day. With a lightness in her breath and a freeness in her laugh. She is letting go and moving forward. She is seeing her worth on the other side of so much heavy. I can see there is still struggle to climb through. I hear it in the cracks in her voice and see it in the welling in her eyes. But I am so proud of her and her strength. I am so proud she is choosing to always stay above where the ugly could drag her. Friend, you are mighty, and your kids will look back, wide-eyed, and always feel your love and know you will always be their constant. You will always be their home.
We talked about the often times unbearable amount we shoulder. The home, the meals, the kids, the work, the everything. It is too much and we are breaking. Under all this multi-tasking superhuman proficiency, we are being chipped away. We are weathered. When and how will we crack. You don’t understand unless you understand. I’m not in a space where I can articulate it more than that.
So, we turn to one another.
I remember when I felt like I just could not another moment. My son was sick. I was working an insane stretch. I felt like I couldn’t take in an entire breath. In that moment, it was the community of women that shoulder their own weight that leaned over to hold up mine. I never asked, but they knew. They leaned in with meals, carpooling, texts, and care packages. And every single piece of themselves they invested in me, gave me the air I needed to keep taking full breaths.
It’s hard. I never feel like I can’t do it all. I know I can carry all the bricks up that mountain, and do it well. But when my community shows up to offload this weight one brick at a time, my shoulders lighten. My back hurts less. I have more strength in each step.
This week, I feel more grounded. I feel as if I have the energy to carry an extra brick. I know my community well enough that I know they will not solicit for help in the same way I will not solicit for help. So in the same way they showed up for me, I show up for them. In care packages, in homemade pasta and meatballs, in texts, and in coffee dates. I need them as much as they need me, and that is what true community has taught me. Lean on me and I will lean on you. And when everything feels too heavy, we will lighten one another’s load, one shared brick at a time.