Tonight was, in a word, amazing. Actually, amazing doesn’t do tonight justice. No one word can encapsulate the emotions that tonight brought out in me.

I woke up this morning excited and optimistic. “Tonight is going to be great”, I told myself. As the day progressed I found myself doing things I don’t normally take the time to do everyday. I washed my hair and not only used a blow dryer, but also the InStyler to make sure it looked nice. I did my make-up. I wore pants other than Juicy velour. In short, I made an effort.

I felt like I was getting ready for prom, but like I was worried maybe my date was going to stand me up. I wanted to look nice but not like I tried too hard, because what if I got to the Greene Turtle and no one showed up? What if I had misjudged the enthusiasm of our supporters and no one wanted to bother with the schlep on a Thursday?

To keep my hopes I up, I posted like mad, sharing my posts on the It Takes a Village, Baby FB page, on my personal page, on my community page. I offered to bring flyers to people so they wouldn’t have to print them themselves. In fact, I even delivered a couple flyers to a neighbor up the hill. I flagged down another neighbor, waving my flyer madly, encouraging her to drag her family 20 minutes down the road to eat at restaurant they could get to in 5 minutes if they just choose to stay local. I was a little bit obnoxious. A bit like the girl who is trying desperately to win Prom Queen but is running against the popular girl and doesn’t really stand much of a chance (in this instance, in my mind the popular girl would be any of the following: the cold, the wind, the rush hour, the bedtime routine disruption, the homework hurdle).

And like the girl who feels every long minute of the day leading up to any long anticipated first date, all the sudden the start time was upon me and I was rushing around like a fool trying to find my lip gloss. I was giddy. I was anxious. I was sweaty.

When 5pm rolled around and I sat there, strategically located near the front of restaurant, I watched as first my fellow ITAVB team members arrive and then quickly watched the dining room fill to capacity. The bar was full. They were out of high chairs for the kids. People were walking in with their flyers in hand. People who didn’t even know any one of us personally but had heard about our group had braved the cold, the wind, the traffic, the distance, the homework hurdle, the bedtime routine disruption ... all to support us.

I was relieved. I was thrilled. Amazed. Proud. Inspired. Touched. Overwhelmed. Blown away. Humbled.

It Takes a Village, Baby has become a huge part of who I am as a person. It is part of my family now; part of our story. It makes me feel like I matter, and is the best way I can think of to let all the moms and children we help know, that they matter. They are loved. They are valued. They are so important. Tonight was validation for me that we are on the right track and that you all, the community at large, share the love and respect for moms that we do. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.

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