They asked about when we got evacuated from Guinea. Nobody ever asks about that. I forgot to mention that the shooting continued every night for a few days. I forgot to mention how I wanted to hide but I also wanted to see the hundreds of people running for their lives on the railroad tracks below our building, being herded like cattle, the military shooting their guns into the air. It was hard to look away. Shawn stayed on the balcony and watched. I hid in the bathroom and occasionally looked out the little rectangular window when my curiosity got the best of me. Nobody talks much about how the culture in West Africa is so different from here, and how for six years our lives were so different. But last night they did. Last night my friends asked about Africa, and IVF, and what brought us to San Angelo as we ate nachos and guacamole and queso and little shrimp appetizers at one house, and tacos at another, and dessert at another. (Progressive Dinners just may be my love language. Food and seeing people’s houses, and riding together and visiting, and more food… yea to the yea.)
I asked about her rainbow babies. She told me about the blood transfusion. There were tears over tacos.
She told me about how she moved here knowing nobody. Not one soul. I told her I could 100% relate. And remembering those first few months and how hard they were, not knowing a soul, and now looking around and seeing friends and community just made me so thankful for the tangible answer to many prayers.
I say let’s have more parties and dinners with people, but while we’re at it, let’s ask the deeper question. Maybe ask about the loss because everyone else is afraid to. And because even though there may be tears, talking about it validates the heartbeats that were. Ask about their marriage and how they met. Ask about how their military career has been, and would they do it again if given the chance to have a do-over?
I was so, “Mehhhhhhh, idk.” About joining mops because I’m new to this mom gig, and I’m definitely not the “Wife, Mom, Boss” or “Chaos Coordinator” t-shirt wearing kind of person. And I feel like there’s more to life than talking about kids and kid stuff, so the last thing I wanted to do was talk nap schedules and weaning timeframes. Hard pass. But then I realized that it’s helpful to know what other people are doing, and what works and doesn’t. (Since we’re all just giving this our best shot anyway…) And with time I learned that all these “moms” are cool people who happen to have kids and backgrounds and that this was a community that I needed.
And when you can provide community and food: I’m all in.