Since moving from Putnam County to Vermont, we have both felt a huge hole in our day to day life---and in our hearts. One of the most important things that The Extended Family’s micro-business work sessions at The Freight House provided for Amanda and myself was a structured, cohesive and predictable environment where if someone was having a bad day we had Founding Mother Laurie inches away, along with indisputably the nicest group of hands on staff in the world, pitching in to make sure that everyone felt a level of support and comfort that would always make this meaningful engagement even more meaningful.
One of the things about TEF is that it’s not just a “vital” link in the chain of connection, friendships, purpose, and productivity for our talented interns---- but what’s even more extraordinary about this non-profit is that it provides family members with a 90-minute window to breathe, and if they choose, participate in the micro-business “business at hand.” Dare I say, for this exhausted “I need a break” mom----this magical and masterful work session of packaging and labeling organic jelly beans always gave me a nanosecond, or two, to mosey over to a cozy corner couch where I could close my eyes, ponder the meaning of life along with the menu for dinner that was an hour away, or if I was really brave----just sit there and do NOTHING.
Yup, you heard me. Nothing. Because boy oh boy--- I didn’t just need that time to regroup and catch my breath. I craved that time because it gave me the gift of renewal, respite and reflection. Did I feel guilty? Absolutely not. Because one of the best pieces of advice that Laurie gave me was that unless I was okay---code for rested & rejuvenated---than I would certainly not be able to do for Amanda what I needed to do.
The art of taking care of ourselves, mind, body & spirit, takes practice, practice, and more practice. But once you get the hang of it, you start to understand the trickle down effect. When we are feeling rested and ready to tackle unpredictable and often times, wack-a-doodle days that are fraught with challenging behaviors and moods---our precious adult sons and daughters will also start to feel less anxious, agitated, and discombobulated.
Granted. All of this may seem storybook perfect and unrealistic where some folks may question if the relationship between “me” and “we” is a reality, or just a hope and a prayer. Cynicism aside, and I am one of the biggest cynics on the planet, I have witnessed first-hand how TEF has benefited my life as much as it has Amanda’s life. Coincidence? I think not. But don’t take my word for it. Come and visit us in person (we sell our goodies at area craft fairs and events in the Hudson Valley) or online on Facebook, Instagram or www.theextendedfamily.solutions.
Once you see meaningful engagement up close and personal, and read first-person accounts of how “this little engine that could” has gone full steam ahead over this past year, changing the lives of everyone lucky enough to join this “family,”---- you too will be a believer. Cheers!
Meet our new Social Media Manager, Hilary Schwartz Wolfson:
Writing Life. Happy Life. I am now the official Social Media Manager for The Extended Family (along with being on the Advisory Board) and am discovering that my talents, going all the way back to my days as a freelancer for The NY Times 15 plus years ago, are surprisingly (and happily) being appreciated by folks today. I cannot deny that I am at my happiest when I am writing, particularly about issues that are important to me, so stay tuned Extended Family supporters for some lively interviews from our participants and intermittent Q & A's about our tribe and the three women (Laurie, Susan & Lisa) who made this all a reality!!
When Hilary isn’t blogging and acting as social media advisor for TEF you can find her playing with Frankie and Johnny, her two favorite goat buddies.🐐🐐