Pecan Grove, My little corner of the world, My Village.....continuing the reminiscing......
So, I had the 5 days to find a house, I worked 8 hours a day with my realtor, narrowed the acceptables down to 1 in Cinco Ranch, new, near the "Oh, it'll never be busy" Hwy 99; 1 somewhere in First Colony, needed a LOT of work; and 3 in Pecan Grove. I artfully stacked the tour for my husband to make sure that my favorite was last and looke awesome compared to the totally trashed house I showed him just before it. I think we paid $10,000 more for the house with trees, but it WAS 98 degrees in July after all and we were moving to the armpit of Texas, so I deserved it, right?
We immediately started school, loved the volunteer opportunities, so got involved with the PTA We found the grocery store options in Richmond or Sugar Land, found the Mall, and the George Memorial Library. The Library was awesome. It had PC's for the kids, story time, movies, books on tape, great. We needed ways to keep the preschoolers busy because my husband began traveling 50% out of state and country.
We found opportunities for the boys to attend Pecan Grove Baptist School for Young Children, joined the Pecan Grove Babysitting Co-op, started playgroups, and registered for soccer. Every gathering brought us in contact with wonderful families chasing kids around just like us. It felt like HOME! Although we missed our very close freinds back in the Dallas area, we realized we had found a great neighborhood to start a new chapter of our lives.
Which brings me to the "Village" concept. Without warning one beautiful, sunny Saturday in our second Pecan Grove June, my husband, bestfriend, and soulmate died of a heart attack at 38 years old while I ran to the store for milk. It was my son's birthday party day, I was 36 and thought my life was over. But I looked up and found 6 of my neighbors running in with their Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Dept. gear, neighbors holding me up, neighbors gathering my children to their homes , a neighbor whisking me off in her car to meet the ambulance at the emergency room, waiting with me and holding my hand as I was prepared for the news.
The neighbors filled my house chit chat, took calls, spread the word, gathered in food, babysat my children all day, and then bought the gifts and cake to make sure that my son's birthday would not be forgotten in the craziness. Family members flew in from all over to join in singing Happy Birthday to a child who had only a tiny idea of how his world had change.
Now, a 36 year old widow with 3 children 4, 6, and 8; do I stay or do I go back to Dallas, family and old friends?
Looking back, I find it very much a gift that I was able to be clear about staying, never swaying from the belief that this was where we were meant to be at this time in our lives. My neighbors got together and organized mowing crews and mowed my yard for a year,they unclogged sinks, worked on my car, and shared meals. They babysat hours and weekends for me in those first years so that I could get a break, go to meetings, counseling. Those meetings, part time work, and Volunteering kept me sane. We were so close knit, it was an open door policy on our street.....the kids were always back and forth, rode the bus, then bikes to school together, played sports, carpooled, birthday partied. The families included us on difficult days, Father's Day was really tough. I always knew they were watching my house and my kids, caring for us.
This "Village" has helped me raise 3 amazing kids. Our blood relations visit, but our friends and neighbors are chosen family and they are here day in and day out. I will be eternally grateful.
Do you know someone who has suffered a loss and has children to raise? I found a wonderful place for our family to heal, it's called BO'S PLACE. It's a grief support center for families who have lost a parent. I volunteered there for 2 years when I was able. I have information for anyone who would like to find out more.
I am still very glad that I stayed here.