#memoriesat60 #missingcommunity #gratitude
When I moved to Billings in 1993, I was 8 months pregnant, missing my women's circle in Portland and desperate to make some connections here before I became more home bound with an infant. I was so very lucky, in two ways.
We had found a last minute child care/preschool spot for our 4-year old son at the Montessori School. When I reached out to its directress Nancy Jo (what an amazing human), she suggested I call one of the other mothers, Carolyn Ostby, to whom I am forever grateful for the ensuing outpouring of woman spirit. Carolyn reached out to one of her friends, Robin Taylor, who immediately responded that their circle wanted to come to our home, with their daughters, to provide comfort, encouragement and to do a belly casting. As soon as they arrived, I was enfolded into their warmth and friendliness. My heart is still warmed as I remember the looks of awe on the faces of the daughters as they placed plaster wrappings around my belly. They created an altar with that cast - a permanent recording of my glorious roundness - with things they brought with them, with their well wishes and with the necklace that my Portland women's circle had started for me - a kind of rosary made of beads given to me by them and sent to me by far flung family and friends. I wore this during labor, fingering each bead and remembering their love and support and that of these new women and girls in my life.
In our tiny cul-de-sac, lived two good-hearted women, Mary McCarvel Helgeson and Shelley McBride. Mary put together a baby shower with some of the wives of my husband's coworkers - again, women I didn't know well, but who responded with a beautiful generosity of spirit. Mary and Shelley, not only had boys with which our son could play, but were the best kind of neighbors and with them, we created a sweet, if rambunctious, life together... welcoming our new daughter - the only girl among the, now seven, neighbor kids - sharing holidays, making up celebrations, watching out for each other and our families.
I treasure those unexpected and touching gifts of community, these lovely beginnings of my life here in Montana. And ... I look forward to the end of the Covid-19 crisis, when such gatherings can start up again.
A place to decant my brain, to capture inspiration and share fresh insights. [Posts from 2015 onward]