I was chatting with a friend the other day, and she seriously asked me how we do it â€“ how we parent five kids, both work in careers that we love, keep the house from falling apart and manage to do so with smiles on our faces. I would pretend that we don’t sleep, or that two people could do everything that we do. But that would belittle the incredible wealth of love, experience, and care that others shower upon our kids every day.
You see, we take the adage “it takes a village” very seriously. In fact, it may underpin our sanity in any given week. This was true when we had two kids, but it became way more true with four, and at five I can’t see any other way of getting our kids all of the love and attention they need. Whether it’s a godmother stepping in for a school event we can’t make, or Sassy bringing over dinner and a hug on a night when she knows a kid has had a rough day, our kids have an army of adults who love them and are there for them.
I remember being a tween and teen, hating my parents and wanting desperately to connect to other adults. (Sorry mom and dad! That stage is way past.) And we always had them: an aunt and uncle, parents’ friends that joined us at the holidays until they became permanent, a babysitter we had for so long I still greet her with my biggest hugs, teachers they forced us to connect with. I don’t know if they realized what a net they were weaving, but man! Does it serve us well. I still rely on those people for advice, help, and laughter. Most of them are already nurturing our little people the way they nurtured us.
We are constantly astounded by our people. Not only do they say yes when we ask, but they offer and enjoy spending time with our kids. And it’s clearly mutual. Tess thinks going to church with my friend’s mom is as fun as going to the symphony. I’m pretty sure Lilou thinks some adults are really visiting her and tolerating her parents. And the boys! They love anyone who’ll tickle them and talk superheroes. I love their confidence in these relationships, the security they clearly feel with these grownups who so kindly share their energy with our whole family.
After a bus snafu one day, someone zipped across town to get Tess and Remy. Another friend popped by and brought Lilou to school last week so Dave and I could revel in our mini getaway. No fewer than ELEVEN adults worked together to keep the kids and dog happy and safe while we took three days to recharge and reconnect. We would absolutely survive without a long weekend to celebrate nine years of marriage, but we are a stronger couple and better parents when we get to take care of ourselves too.
So Village, we salute you. Parental network of support, adults who teach our children to be proud and communicative, no nonsense adults who refuse to accept inappropriate behavior from the horde – we thank each of you for helping us sort out problems and making each day a little brighter for all of us. You are loved and we are grateful.