This past weekend was spent in a cabin with my sisters, mother, and daughter. We had no Internet, no cell signal, and so much fun. On its own, the cabin served as a slow-down from our ordinary lives (even the coffee maker took close to an hour to brew), which we learned to enjoy (not the waiting-for-the-coffee part though), but more than that, it served as a reminder of how crucial family is to my well-being and overall attitude toward life.On Friday, before we left that evening, I was GRUMPYPANTS. I resented all I had to do that day and was afraid that I wouldn’t get everything done — and it was all important stuff; a priority list wouldn’t save the day this time. I began to wonder if it was even worth it. I could easily go down to my parents’ house and visit with everyone there. Luckily, as the day wore on and I ticked off to-dos, my attitude softened a bit.
Throughout the course of the weekend, I remembered what it’s like to be a part of my family. Mainly, giggles. But there was also some down-home chat. You know, memories, stories, ribbings, exaggerations, and truths. One of those truths was that it takes a village.
When I was a kid, I had a lot of people telling me what to do — Mom, Dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends of the family, teachers. And I listened to and respected them. They all taught me different things, and all shaped me into the person I am today. I realize how lucky I was to have been surrounded by so many who took a part in raising me.
Unfortunately, Story doesn’t have the luxury of having a whole bunch of people telling her what to do. Well, she does, but not that many who are close and readily available every day. She also doesn’t have any siblings to tell her what to do. She’s kinda spoiled. She is the only child and only grandchild, after all. Not to mention her extended family doesn’t get to see her often, so when they do, it’s a special occasion and it is treated as such.
As we womenfolk talked, one of my sisters mentioned being afraid of overstepping in her interactions with Story. This struck me. Of course she wasn’t overstepping; she is Story’s aunt! She is a member of the village and should not hesitate to help Story grow into a well-rounded, kind, compassionate, and independent adult. It never occurred to me that my sister didn’t know that. And that’s my fault. I know I can raise Story on my own and she’ll likely turn out to be a pretty cool person, but I also know that if I welcome the help of trusted family and friends, Story will be so much better for it.
It’s tough raising a child. It’s tough being a single mom. And one of the things I miss out on in my current situation is the village. I have a new to-do on my priority list: welcome and make good use of the village.