The Friendship Village

28 Dec

It takes a village – you’ve no doubt heard that old African proverb countless times. Well, I completely buy into that adage and believe that we all, in fact, have several villages in our lives, some of which go on simultaneously through our lives.

I value all of my villages – my nuclear family village, my vintage friends village (life before motherhood), my neighborhood village, my C!M (work) village, etc. . For the sake of this little blog, however, I’m going to concentrate on the village that houses all of our friends that are raising children at or near the same age as Ben. Although we have a couple of sub-villages within that context, I’m going to lump those sub-villages into one and call it the Friendship Village (My first thoughts on Mom Friends can be seen on blog #3 from September 2012). I can’t imagine that I could ever have wandered into parenthood without these people

Our little circle is a wonderful place where adults and children alike can bask in the security of knowing that those around them care deeply for each villager’s well-being and comfort and are interested and invested in their lives. Simply put, the kind of friends you hope to have and hope to be. Parenting that turns to ‘sharenting’ (catchy, isn’t it?).

Here’s an example: This is how a morning unfolded a few months ago….

Gary and a few of our friends decided to ride in the Make-A-Wish Bike Ride this past July, which makes a 300 trek through Michigan to raise money to grant special wishes for seriously ill children. Since he hadn’t officially registered yet, I went on the website to do that for him. I found the site very confusing (I find almost EVERY website confusing, because unfortunately, I am not the most tech-savvy or patient digital girl out there).

As my frustration mounted (which didn’t take long), I texted my good friend, who is incredibly computer sophisticated (she’s a high school business teacher) to ask for help. She signed him up in mere minutes.

Then, she and I decided to join a couple of our other friends and volunteer at the finish line with our kids. It was my job to register us for that. Except, I couldn’t figure that out, either. So, after 30 minutes of swearing and maybe a few tears, I called my other dear friend and asked her what to do. She came to my aid and walked me through it gently, as if walking a three year old across a busy intersection. (She must have heard me sniffle.)

In the meantime, I was (fairly) proficient in reserving hotel rooms for us! (And we didn’t even end up at some nice motel in Canada!) We thought we’d go the night before and make a fun time of it all.

Then my dear friend called back to see if Ben wanted to ride the last 10 miles with her daughter, a close classmate of his. Since the adults were going to ride the last 50 miles with Gary, yet another of our friends would be taking the kids to where they would join in the conclusion of the ride.

By the end of the morning (all of it was quick except the 30 minutes I was weeping), we were all signed up, ready to volunteer and had rooms for the night. And every last one of us did something not just for ourselves, but to make life easier and simpler for one another. Each with complete willingness to raise not just each other’s children as if they were our own, but to make sure that we were taken care of, as well.

We often talk about the village in terms of raising one another’s children, but it’s also about taking care of one another – as moms, as women, as families….. That’s what my village is all about – at any level. Love it!!

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