You’ve heard this one before, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Originally I believe the quote was derived from tribal ancestors who really did live in a small village where parents, children, grandparents and extended relatives all lived together in the same home, or within a stone’s throw.
Today, not so much. With families having to pick up and go where the jobs are, we no longer live in the same town where we grew up and we may live miles away from the nearest grandparent. Our “village” has evolved. Yep–there still is a village, but it’s different.
So, in my world, it’s “Target Tuesday” today. Let me tell you, Target is my village. I won’t get into it too much–you just have to trust me. Sitting in the snack bar for an early lunch with my almost 5-year old chomping on organic mac and cheese and a less-than-organic slushie, she announced she needed to go to the bathroom but wanted to do it all alone. I nodded and spied the door to the ladies room from my position at the table. Sure, she could go by herself. A moment alone–sigh. A friendly Target villager came to my table and said, “That’s your little one in the bathroom, right?” I nodded, sort of feeling like I might be in trouble with the Target cops. Not at all. She just told me she helped Kate with the paper towels. And reminded me that there was a sale on my favorite frozen food item (she works in the “market pantry” department) You see, she’s a village person. And so is Pete, who helped carry my new wicker lawn chair to the front and so is Marilyn who took my money. You may be thinking, “that’s their job. You shop. They’re friendly.” But it’s so much more than that.
Before we even got to Target, I needed to sneak in a little physical and mental health. So, Kate spent time at the YMCA kids’ room coloring, playing, and socializing while I got some much needed “alone time” to read a novel and sweat it out on the eliptical trainer. Local villagers helped there, too.
Next stop: Carter’s for PJs. They know us here, too. Today the manager, Susie noticed I didn’t have my littlest one with me–she’s at preschool (another village) and suggested the cutest jammies for my sleepyheads. She offered a coupon that I didn’t have, a smile and told me to enjoy the sunny day. I felt it was less about a sale and more about a village.
Of course, there are the obvious villages, too. School, church, neighbors. I have to gush about one of mine! Almost always bright and cheerful, this woman knows how to make others feel good. If a neighbor could care for my kids anymore than I, then I think I’ve met my match. Miss Carrie brings us goodies (last evening dropping by with egg-shaped sugar cookies on a stick), crafty projects and she even loans out her oldest to be my mother’s helper. She’ll even let my kids walk aroud her yard jabbering away at her while she picks up dog poo.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a village I’m happy to be stuck with! Who are the village people in your day?