Sometimes, we find our village in the unlikeliest of places
I believe every family, lovingly raising their child, needs a village. We need people around us, who share our interests, love our kids, experience our downs, and lift us up. Parents, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, daycare providers… the people in your nucleus are the people who are going to shape the individual that your child becomes just as much as you are.
And sometimes, they show up in places you never expect to find…
This last week my family and I were fortunate enough to go on our yearly vacation to Florida.
My husband works for a large time-share vacation company, and the benefit of vacationing well for middle class families like us are too good to pass up on. He’s worked for the company for ten years this year, and has amassed a fabulous amount of vacation time, which he uses at whim.
However, because I am a family Childcare provider, I have five families relying on me for care, so I am reluctant to take any time off. I hate sending out the message to my families that I am utilizing any of my two weeks (laid out in my contract) time off. However, after the fact, I am always glad we went. Childcare providers have a rewarding, but tough job. We need time with just our families to recharge.
Anyhow, back to my story…
So Hubs, with his extra time off, my mom, and my daughter, all left to drive down to Sunny Florida on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, our Toddler O and I, hung back and flew by ourselves Saturday after finishing out the work week. At first I was thrilled with the idea. I got to work, I didn’t have to sit in a car for 2 days with 2 kids and my task-master husband, and I got to have rare one on one time with O. However, the day we were due to leave, my anxiety began to build. What was I thinking? Taking a busy toddler by myself through an airport, keeping him occupied and happy and STILL for a three hour, crowded flight?
No. Way. Good Lord, what if he wants to nurse? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about nursing in public, normalizing breastfeeding, etc. But to sit squished between goodness knows who with a toddler who loves to pull down my shirt and kick wildly while demanding “boob” was not my idea of a good time. A little too close to my personal space for my own comfort.
So we made our way through the airport.
Security was fabulous, they even let us go through while wearing him in my Lillebaby- I never even needed to take him down. O was in a sunny mood. I tried to let him run around a bit and get some energy out before boarding, but he really just wanted to closeness and security of mom. I prayed the entire time that we could sit next to someone who likes kids.
And we did. Our flight was a budget flight, we were packed in like sardines. O and I were stuck in the middle of two men, one around my age, another, mid-fifties. I cringed inwardly. Until we sat down. Everyone in our little area greeted each other with a smile. The woman in front of us offered to hold him so I could get situated in our seat. The gentleman next to me helped shove the diaper bag under the seat in front of me while the man to my left didn’t mind at all that I kept accidentally smacking him with the Lillebaby while I fumbled to take it off (did I mention that we were packed like sardines?)
No one felt disturbed by O.
In fact, they enjoyed him. They played peek a boo and we laughed and talked about our children and parenting and life. Ollie climbed all over me and flirted with absolutely everyone close to us. Even the staff was amazing. The pilot joked that we were on a flight to Hawaii; the steward staff, during their safety talk, teasingly informed us that if we needed help, DON’T let them know. The flight turned out to be wonderful. What I feared would turn out a disaster, was a wonderful experience. Somehow, we found this tiny unexpected village in this tiny cramped airplane.
You see, we belong to each other. Sometimes, we look at the masses of people crowded around, each person with their own agendas, that we forget to look at the individual. When we begin to see the person next to us as a whole person with a life and a dream and people they care about, we can then treat that person with the respect to which all humans are due. Suddenly, we don’t see crowds and masses. We see a village. And maybe, if we are very lucky, we find our village. And on that tiny, cramped plane, for three hours, O and I found our own little village. We took care of each other.
And isn’t that what life is all about?
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Have you ever found your village in an unexpected place? What was it like?