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Who Is In Your Village?

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We are so lucky. While we have no family in this part of the country, we are surrounded by lots of friends. Helpful, babysitting, diaper-changing friends.

And as the famous saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

Having said that, we have tried to balance the kindness of our friends and their needs as well as our own. Did our childless friends really want my baby punted onto their hips the minute I walk into the door? Did my friends who were already weary from their own children want to play with mine just because I needed a break?

As our extended family of friends have children of their own, it has been interesting to watch how their villages take shape. To listen to the frustrations and misunderstandings among friends when the needs are not met, on both sides. And how everyone tries to balance their relationships with kids and their relationships without kids.

In our case, we have two best friends (coincidentally married to each other) who have really been a second set of parents to Declan. When we go on vacation together, we have the luxury of 4 to 1 ratios… which is pretty good odds when it comes to keeping track of, not to mention entertaining, a child.

But that doesn’t mean that even they, the people that Declan would leave us in the dust for, would want us to ignore our adult relationship for our Family of Five. At about age 2, we had a heart to heart, where they asked for more “adult time.”? We listened, we worked at it, and we came out even better friends for it. (And they were understanding that it’s sometimes hard to find adult time when you have a 2 year old!)

But then, these same people are absolutely my go-to when I do need a break. And now that he is 5, it’s almost a unspoken rhythm between us. In the chaos of a party, I will look over and see my friend helping Declan with his shoe. Unasked, unbidden, she just… helps.

I appreciate each and every shoe.

Who helps tie your shoes?

More of Aimee’s writings can be found at her blog, Greeblemonkey.

Author: Aimee

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson September 18, 2007

    Friends are nice but the powers that be in my village = a very willing (and able) grandma. And we are lucky enough to have Grandchildren #1 & 2. I don’t think I have had to buy a stitch of clothing yet. 🙂

  • comment avatar Angela Klocke September 18, 2007

    I am slowly building a new village here. We didn’t really have one back in GA, though. No family here. Just people we meet…

  • comment avatar Melissa September 18, 2007

    Amber, I’m so with you on grandma buying clothes. And Aimee, I so appreciate your point about understanding that just because I had a kid doesn’t mean my friends love her, too! That has taken a balancing act that I wasn’t prepared for. We learn quickly who is willing to balance, though, don’t we?

  • comment avatar salina September 18, 2007

    We have very good friends that help us out too! We really appreciate them as well!

  • comment avatar Kari September 18, 2007

    I, too have plenty of great friends who do their fair share of shoe tying. Thanks for helping me remember how great it is to have such great support!

  • comment avatar MPPs Mom September 19, 2007

    I’ve always envied your ‘villiage’.

  • comment avatar September 19, 2007

    Maybe this’ll get better as Boo ages (she’s 19 mos. now), but I’ve always been overly shy about asking the village for help… everyone’s so busy and all. So it’s mostly all me (& my wife after work and on weekends), and Boo’s getting bored!

  • comment avatar oktree September 19, 2007

    Aimee, Your village is a strong village. It is valuable for all to have family time and adult time.

    We are lucky to have a rather large village complete with grandparents, and my sister in law’s family, my husband’s cousin and her family. Some close members of our village moved recently and has left a gaping hole. These were our friends – the people who lived within 1/2 mile of us, whose son attended school with my son, with whom I shared a nanny for several months, etc. Honestly, my friend was a rock and I miss her dreadfully.

    I need to let her know that. Thank you for the reminder.

  • comment avatar Anne September 19, 2007

    Nice post, Aimee. You do have a special village.

  • comment avatar Mitch McDad September 19, 2007

    Unfortunately, our best shoe tier lives in Texas. But we are hiring.

  • comment avatar Horoscopically Blonde September 21, 2007

    We wear crocs.

    It saves on the whole shoe-tying thing.