The Village People

You know that old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? ┬áLike most old sayings, it’s positively spot-on. ┬áThat’s why I love old things so much. They’re tried and true! Lately, all of the parenting has fallen on my shoulders which I don’t mind all that much on account of my having no other job and on account of my husband earning all the money so I can just stay home. Wednesday afternoon, when I had a house pack full of kiddos my husband came in the door at noon -the only part of the day that got a little crazy because I was fixing 7 little lunches all at once -and told me he was leaving for Texas.
“When?” I asked.
“Now,” he said.
“Where are you going?” I asked, stunned.
“Out of state. I told you that.”
“I can’t hear you over the kids,” I said, “When will you be back?”
“I don’t know. A couple days, I think.”

A hug and a kiss and BLAM-O! He was gone. I spent the next two days not cooking, not shaving, and managing my time very unwisely indeed. It’s hard to stay on track when you don’t have to stay on anyone’s schedule.
For a few days, the kids and I were left alone together. I don’t mind it all that much, really. But after a couple days of being stuck in the house (what was the deal with the week of freezing winds?!), I had to call in The Village.
Up we went to my parent’s house with a rented movie in tow. How would I parent without my village? The truth is: I don’t know. I should be more brave, and part of me yearns to relocate somewhere far, far away. Like… Texas.
Then I wouldn’t have my Village Family and I would HAVE to fine tune my stiff upper lip.

When my husband returned late, late Friday night everything went back to normal. Saturday was completely FILLED with yard sales, picking up bountiful baskets, buying up some of our garden plants and flower bed flowers at the feed store, attending a reception, snagging a sitter, and then attending the Adult Stake Conference Meeting. Sunday morning, we rolled out of bed and got ready for the morning session of Stake Conference. We were about 10 minutes late to church (as so were about 13 other families with kids under the age of 5), and as we were circling the parking lot to find a spot… my husband was called into work.
Because I had no idea he’d be leaving me, I didn’t equip myself properly for two solid hours of church with JUST me and my two kids. Sitting there in the back with the two kids went well for about 5 minutes. Then they started to get restless. I tried to keep them entertained and reverent and just when I started losing control, a good friend -who happened to be sitting in front of us -reached back and handed my kids some quiet games.
Ah, my village!
When they would finish with one, they’d hand it back and she’d give them another. She did all this while fielding three kids of her own, and I wanted to shout HALLELUJAH! from my seat. Too bad that’s frowned on in the middle of conference.

After about an hour, the kids were each on the verge of a melt down, so I decided to take them out and walk the halls. Just as we rounded a corner, they spotted their Aunt “Lily” (Lillian) and they literally RAN away from me and into her waiting arms.
“Come with me,” she said to them, “There’s someone over here you’ll want to see.”
Within minutes, both of my kids were with their grandma and grandpa. Next to them was more of my village: brother, sister, aunts, cousins, uncle, grandma, grandpa…

I wasn’t able to keep my kids next to me at all for the rest of conference, and I always feel bad about that. I want them to stay with me. I don’t want to place the burden of raising my children on anyone else but myself (since it isn’t a burden to me. Well… most days, anyway). But my village is wiser than I am. They’re more patient, more loving, more kind. They listen better. They don’t spank. Their arms are always wide open. They teach and they play. They give and they give. And they give.

Children need a village.
On Mother’s day, after our great rib feast, my aunt took my son home with her. I meant to write her a thank you note, but I haven’t yet. What she didn’t realize is that no one really ever takes JUST Trent. Usually it’s Lacy that gets taken and Trent stays behind. She’s older, so it makes more sense. She’s potty trained and she keeps up a conversation like nobody’s business. Trenton always wants to go, and on Mother’s Day he was just finishing up a week of absolute naughtiness. Seeing him drive away alone with Aunt JuJu was just priceless. When I picked him up, he was stock full of stories -most of which I didn’t understand in the least -and he spent the next week behaving so well that I wanted to wrap my arms around my aunt and KISS her! How Trent needed that! I couldn’t give that to him! Leaving the house with just mom is all right, but leaving the house with someone like JuJu?! Better than Christmas!

On the last night of our being alone while my husband was away, I put a movie in for the kids to watch before bed. They batted their wide little eyes at me and asked me to please sit and watch with them. I sat down and thought I’d sit through the previews and then hop up to do dishes or something. I thought by then they’d be into the movie and would forget they asked me to sit with them.
As the previews ended, I got up and pressed the “play” button on the menu and then started to leave.
“MAMA!” They both cried… I turned around to see their big eyes locked on me.
“Watch with us,” my daughter said. I took a deep breath, smiled, and walked back to their bed. They squealed with delight and the minute I sat on the bed they were all over me.
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How would I do it with just me? I couldn’t. Even if I moved so far as Texas, a village would find me. Children have a way of creating them.
Probably because they’re so irresistible. Even when they’re playing in a empty trough at a feed store pretending to be rabbits…
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Maybe ESPECIALLY then.

Comments

  1. What would we do without our villages, huh? And I feel like families make the best villages, ever. :)

  2. I really hope there’s some kind of village in Virginia, because the thought of being there without my family (again) for several years seems daunting some days.

  3. Those are the cutest bunnies I’ve ever seen! Where can I buy one?

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