I am confused as to how my son’s friend knows that his mother is here to pick him up. This gets cleared up for me when I am told that his mother texted him to say she was out in our driveway. I sift through this one for days. The place I keep returning to could be labelled, “lost opportunities;” ones that are both obvious and subtle, specific and general, personal and communal. Here are a few: She and I miss out on getting to know one another a bit more. Our boys miss out on seeing their connection extend into the generation ahead of them. This mom misses out on the possibility of breaking bread with us in the form of the delicious home-made cinnamon rolls my husband has just made. It was a beautiful Sunday morning here that would have been made even more beautiful with some unexpected company. And so, the very real and, these days ignored, impromptu opportunity to commune, with all of its unexpected gifts, has been lost. Are we noticing this? Do we even care?
While the phrase, “It takes a village” has been appropriated and misused for personal and political gain, it stands true nontheless that our children need a community of support in their lives that extends beyond their immediate family; an invisible web that surrounds and protects them beyond the reach of our homes. They require a level of physical, emotional and spiritual holding that far exceeds the limited domain of their family of origin. In plain language, we all need to be looking out for each other’s kids. And one of the best ways to do this is to get to know one another. We used to know this. More than that, we used to live this. And we did not need reminders, catchy slogans or PSA announcements. We knew that our children could not be adequately held and protected without the support of those around us. And we, as parents knew that we needed each other. What’s changed?