When Josh and I went to DisneyLand, Asher stayed with Josh's parents. The day we left, however, his parents were working all day and we had to be at the airport mid-afternoon. So I arranged for Asher to stay with a friend. When I dropped him off, my throat choked up and my eyes welled with heavy tears. This was the first time I'd ever been apart from Asher for more than a few hours, and I was nervous about it. And though I was nervous, in my heart I knew my boy would be just fine. Because Josh and I aren't the only ones who love him. As I worked to gain control of my tears, I told my friend how much it meant to me that I had a place where I felt 100-percent comfortable leaving my son. It means the world to me that I have people in my life whom I trust with my lifeblood. That's no small thing.
I used to hear the It takes a village to raise a child adage and think it meant that every adult needs to be the parent, and I don't think that one kid needs a million parents. But since I've been a mother, I've realized that the village isn't there to be a parent--it's there to support the parents. The village is there to welcome my children and love them and be their friends. It's there to love me and support me and listen to me. And I'm a part of the village so that I can help and listen and love. I'm a part of the village because it's the only way I can give back to those people who love me and my family. The village thrives on reciprocity, and boy, it's a beautiful system.
I have many friends here whom I can call when I need childcare or a listening ear or an inconvenient favor. This village is full of many homes who welcome my son and my husband and myself without a second thought. And I have so many friends here for whom I would do anything. And that willingness isn't rooted in obligation, but in love. The village isn't there because I'm an inadequate or lazy mother--it's there to help me be the mother I want and need to be. It's there because we were never meant to raise children all alone. The village is there because it's one of the best systems for learning how to both give and receive love. The village raises the child, because it also raises the mother.
I used to think that I didn't need the village, but I was so wrong. I need it, and my family needs it. We need to serve and be served, love and be loved. And doesn't everybody?