That is a familiar phrase--we've all heard it. And for a long time I was sort of a quiet scoffer at it. I felt like I had no village helping me raise my kids. My mom lives so far away that she has never been a nana who did sleep overs or watched the kids while my wife and I had a dinner out. As a matter of fact, I have no babysitter on tap as watching the littles would mean also knowing how to deal with my autistic 30 year old son. Those are two radically different skill sets. And after all, I chose to have this family--wasn't it on me to take care of them?
Yet I was thinking the other night that the concept that we are doing this alone is false. Not only false but laughable. Rob just started a new job last night in his chosen field. He got the job in part because of his personality and qualifications but also because my friend and neighbor is good friends with the manager of the restaurant. Getting him to work from the train will be my personal logistical nightmare, but getting the job lead? That was someone from our village.
Monday night is a perfect storm of committments at our house. KC and Lissa both have dance. Lissa has Girl Scouts as well. Rob needs a pick up at the train. My friend needs a ride for her daughter to and from the dance school so she can take her young son to sensory therapy. I am able to help my friend. The Scout leader helps me by giving Lissa a ride to the Scout meeting after dance. (her grand daughter dances with Lissa.) My wife gets Rob at the trains station, allowing me to run my friends daughter home after she and KC finish their classes. A village, encirling me, encircling my friend.
At church, my oldest needs some special help to avoid being disruptive to the service. He would vastly prefer not to sit with me--having the small independence of sitting elsewhere is very important to him. A kind, autistically savvy woman in our congregation has made it her mission to be Chet's seat buddy, cuing him as needed and helping vastly with his feelings of self worth and independence. Yes, a village. And I will celebrate mine and not take if for granted any longer!