As the calendar year draws to a close, and we celebrate holidays with friends and family, I've found myself more and more motivated to write a blogpost about giving thanks. A lot has happened since we became BWI of Atlanta last October, and much of it could not have happened without the support of the babywearing community, friends, and family.
First and foremost I'd like to thank all the people who keep Babywearing International of Atlanta funded - the members. Without our members we can't have a lending library. That is the biggest draw for anyone joining this organization. Our lending library has mushroomed and it's all because of people joining and paying dues. All of the educators at BWI of Atlanta are volunteers, which means that 100% of the chapter's share of dues go straight towards the lending library or advertising.
Of course, we can't have a lending library without the vendors and manufacturers that donate carriers to us or sell us carriers at a discount. If you've been a longtime reader of this blog you will not be surprised to hear that Jennifer Harris of Marsupial Mamas has been instrumental in helping us build our lending library. The vast majority of our wraps have come from Marsupial Mamas and I could not ask for a more wonderful, generous person with whom to do business. When we are in need, I turn to Jen first. She comes through every time.
Amber of Heavenly Hold has also been a big part of BWI of Atlanta. It's always a pleasure to work with her, and the same to Jenni of Heart Hugs. Thanks also go out to the following:
Heather Moreau at wovenwraps.com
Jan Andrea at Sleeping Baby Productions
Pam and Pam at Tiny Tree Huggers (CN)
Crystal at Kalea Baby
Filip at Vatanai
BWI of Atlanta meetings couldn't happen without the generosity of The Solarium, New Baby Products, REI Barrett Parkway, and The Little Gym. All of them allow BWI of Atlanta to host meetings for free, with nary a complaint about wild, screaming children and their zombified parents. I'm so grateful that we have safe spaces around the Atlanta metro area in which to work.
Last, but not least, I need to thank all the VBEs who work with me: Aisling, Kate, Priscila, Malia, and Anna. To be a VBE means to give up many hours every month, to stay on top of changing trends and best recommended practices, to deal patiently with many questions and demands of all sorts, to schlep hither, thither, and yon with no reimbursement for time or gasoline, and to patiently weather my oversharing and requests. This job is not easy. BWI of Atlanta would not exist without its educators.
Speaking of Kate, it's with a mixture of feelings that we bid farewell to her. Kate has been a mainstay in the Atlanta babywearing community for the last seven years. She was a founding leader of Babywearing International of Atlanta and held the title of president. The mei tais that she created have made caregivers and babies fall in love with babywearing. She had a vision that BWI of Atlanta would become the major babywearing resource in Atlanta, and I believe that vision has been realized.
At some point in every educator's career it comes time to age out, to pursue other interests and devote more time to the ever-changing needs of children. Kate has reached that point; from here on out, her path diverges from ours. Kate, thank you so much for all of the help over the years. You've touched so many lives in your years as an educator, mine included. I met Kate at my very first babywearing meeting back when BWI of Atlanta was Koala Mommas. She helped me back carry my baby at my second meeting. Without her, I would not be here, nor would many of the faces at BWI of Atlanta. Thank you, Kate! So long and thanks for all the fish!
I am guilty of always keeping my eyes focused on the horizon, running full tilt at new and exciting things. It's past time that I looked back to see from where I came. We've come a long way from our humble beginnings as Koala Mommas. In the last year BWI of Atlanta has grown immensely and made itself a home in the parenting community. We have a thriving Facebook page. We have a Twitter and an online presence at http://www.bwiofatlanta.org. We have a lending library that is constantly growing and members that help and support one another. All of this would not have been possible without a community of people working together. So, four days after Thanksgiving, at the time of the year when people come together to count blessings, reconnect, and spread cheer, when we take time to let what came before inform what comes next, I give thanks.
I give thanks.