It Takes a Village



By Jaya Pandey

Mom's Retreat

“It takes a village is a proverb that leverages the cultural context and belief that it takes an entire community to raise a child. A child has the best ability to become healthy adults if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.”

I have considered myself a lucky woman when it comes to great friends and relationships. This blue saree is a tribute to my village. Today I want to write about some very special mothers who are part of my village.

Anand was 8 when we finally got a name for that puzzle. I tried to deny, refuse, wish and pray that one fine day I will get up and it will all be gone. I was just numb and in a very dark place. Being mother is hard in itself, seeing your child struggle, feeling helpless is even worse. You don’t know whom you should turn to.

This is the time Autism Resource Center extends a helping hand. The special moms hold your hand and help you navigate the unknown territory. Sue, Cid and many more do the wonderful job paving the path for new moms.

So it was 2013, I signed up Anand for a camp and while navigating the site I got to know about “mother’s retreat”. All I knew it’s a 21 hours stay and fun for moms. I remember driving over an hour and when I reached the hotel I sat in the parking lot thinking if I should go in or just go back home. I had never met those mom’s, didn’t know anything about any of them, and knew nothing about mother’s retreat. Finally went in and after an hour or so I forgot that I didn’t know anyone. That is one funny thing about “this village” no one knows you but they are the one who get you without saying anything.

The evening and night progressed and I got to know some incredible mothers. They had lot more than my plate but they are the first ones to offer you help, suggestions. They inspire me with their strength, they amaze me with their kindness, and they motivate me to fight more for my son, they encourage me to learn more, they persuade me to keep going and never give up. They hold your hand when you get tired, they cheer you up, and they cry with you and offer you their shoulder. And one day if I decide to run away from everything, they promised they would drive the car for me.

They have lived Autism when there was no Internet, no support, no help. But they made sure others get it. They teach, support, breath, live, learn, coach, talk Autism and I cannot find any adjectives to explain what they do and again I wonder – “how do they do it”.

This was my third mother’s retreat. Every year I reconnect old friends and make some new and comeback rejuvenated. We eat, talk, drink, laugh, cry and dance (except this year) together. Cid, please make sure they get better DJ next year.

My Saree is tribute to Sue’s energy, passion and knowledge, Cid’s willingness to do more for us, Cheryl’s knowledge and spirit and Hope-Marie’s ‘s enthusiasm to do more for her kids. And each and every mother in that village who keeps working for a better life for her kids.
My village – please know Icannot express my gratitude in words. Love and hugs to all of you..

And a special thanks to Becky for this sign