They say it takes a village to raise a child, and after this past week, I’d definitely agree.
My village usually consists of my parents, who live nearby and are able to pitch in whenever and wherever I need them. When my kids were little, I had built-in babysitters twelve minutes away. They were available to meet the bus if I was running late, to carpool if I had to be in different places with different kids, and for the occasional date night.
Although my kids are older now, they still can’t drive themselves anywhere and it’s not uncommon for the two girls to need to be in two different places at the same time. For a while, my mom and I had a “Sunday calendar check,” where we coordinated schedules for the week.
There are other family I can call when I know I need something in advance, or when I have big needs that can't be handled by just one person. Their presence, though further away, is also reassuring.
But it’s not just my parents who are my village. It’s my friends, too, something I often forget. I was reminded of it, however, this past week.
We had a town tragedy this past week, and as is often the case, everyone pulled together to support each other. It was a lovely burst of light in an otherwise very dark week. What was so nice for me to see was the number of people who called to check on my child, who said they’d look out for my child and provided support for my child. Teachers and guidance counselors and clergy and friends all pulled together to let all of us know that we were not alone.
This weekend, my daughter and I had the chance to help out a friend and her mom with something fairly trivial, but it was nice to be part of someone else’s village for a change. We were able to help turn a chore into an adventure, to provide gentle guidance without forcing ourselves on anyone and to have a bit of fun in the process. It was a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, more like a social activity, but one with a purpose.
This week, my parents are away. There are no daily phone calls, no “Sunday calendar checks” and no one to pitch in spur-of-the-moment when I realize I double booked something (like that dental appointment I had to reschedule because of a physical booked too close together). Except I have my village. I may not call on them for the trivial stuff, but I know that they’re there if I need them.
And that’s awesome.