We Need A Village
Ever heard the statement, “It takes a village to raise a child”? When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with a family that I considered my family over time. There were so many kids to play with, and I felt like I was part of something whole. We called each other “cousin”, and it stayed like that through my adolescence and even into my young adult years. The reason, I’m mentioning the alternate family that I grew up with is because those weren’t just great childhood memories for me. They were small breaks for my mother too. All of those weekends when she didn’t have to worry about me. She knew I was with a family and she was able to relax, regroup, rejuvenate, or whatever she decided to do with HER time. She had a “village” that helped her with me.
Eventually, my mother remarried, and even though, ultimately, I was her responsibility, my stepfather helped with picking me up from school everyday and making sure I made it home (again, part of the “village”). As I hustle to and from work everyday, trying to make sure that I get to my son on time, and as I make the mad rush to his practices or games, I am reminded of my need for a “village”. True, there are occasions (in the case of traffic or an emergency) when I can call on my mother or a close friend to pick him up, but the constant knowledge that it is, ultimately, me and only me, wears on my mind. So this is what it feels like to be solely responsible.
My son doesn’t have a village, and I feel like we are, both, deprived by the lack thereof. I believe the reason for this lack is because I had my child when I was 34 years old. By the time my child was walking and talking, all of my friend’s children were on their way to Jr. High or High School. As time moves on, I find that I am the only one, out of my group of friends, who needs a babysitter, daycare, or a timeline to do everything (which can be somewhat expensive and exhausting). So, I find myself doing kid stuff, while my friends are doing adult stuff. What I would give to have a place (that my son enjoyed and desired) where I did not have to worry about picking him up in 1 or 2 hours or, on those extremely rare occasions when he gets to spend the night away, rushing to pick him up by the crack of dawn. I wish I could remove the stressful feelings I get when I have to ask someone to help us out. What I have found is that people (family and friends) are so excited about their own freedom because their children are all grown up, that they have no wish to start watching over someone else’s kids. So, my son and I are ALWAYS together, and I must admit, I do enjoy the little guy, but for my sanity, I NEED some time to myself (1 or 2 days a month would suffice). It took me awhile to get over the guilt of wanting my adult time, but after 11 years of constantly being “the only one”, I can truly say, “Sometimes, I’m tired”. We (my son and I) need a “village”.